So often, a restaurant can mean more to people than the food it serves. This is especially so in the case of Hughie’s, which has been serving the Timbergrove and Lazybrook area for more than 30 years and the Heights since 2017.

Owner Philip Pham brought his family to the U.S. in the early 1980s to flee war-torn Vietnam, where he said he and his family embraced their traditional comfort food. They also have come to cherish Houston’s multicultural environment.

He describes Hughie’s as “a unique hybrid of classic Vietnamese cuisine with an American twist that some would call Asian Fusion, but we like to refer to it as the epitome of the American Dream.”

But my job isn’t just to find good stories; it’s also to evaluate food and let you know if it’s worth your time and hard-earned money. And Hughie’s absolutely is.

The grilled chicken banh mi ($6.50) is served on a toasted baguette with pickled vegetables, cucumbers, sliced jalapeños, cilantro and Vietnamese mayonnaise (traditionally made with egg yolk, oil, salt and lemon).

In my view, grilled chicken is the gold standard when it comes to banh mis, as it provides a juicy, tender canvas to showcase the more mild flavors (cucumbers and pickled vegetables) and spicier ones (cilantro and jalapeños).

You can also get your chicken sauteed or shaking style, tofu, grilled pork, grilled beef or sauteed beef on your banh mi.

My next course was the shaking shrimp ($13), a wok-seared seafood dish influenced by beef lok lok, or shaking beef. In the shaking beef, the beef is cut into small cubes and seared, then served with steamed or brown rice, kale salad and a lime pepper sauce.

The shaking shrimp is prepared similarly, and as with any of Hughie’s dishes, you have the option to add a fried egg ($1) and an egg roll ($1.50).

The shrimp and grilled onions were juicy and plump and the kale salad was refreshing and crisp.

When it comes to drinks, the craft beer on tap and the wine on offer differs by location.

Buckle Bunny Cream Ale from Eureka Heights Brewing Company ($5 per pint) is available in Timbergrove and Cherry Red Semi-Dry from City Orchard ($6 per pint) is offered in the Heights, among many other drink selections.

Hughie’s

Address: 1802 W. 18th St. (Timbergrove), 4721 N. Main St. (Heights)

Dining Options: Dine-in, pickup

Hours: 7:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday

Entrée prices: $9-$36

Kid-friendly: Yes

Senior discount: No

Alcohol: Yes

Healthy options: Kale salad with tofu ($10)

Star of the show: Grilled chicken banh mi

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