Treebeard’s, Southern Cooking for Lunch
Subway for lunch again sounds amazing. The new sliced “chicken” they are putting on the sandwiches is amazing….Stop, please stop. If I eat another 6 inch cold cut combo I am going to jump. Nothing against Subway, but most of us are caught up in our same routine for lunch and never try anything new. It’s time to step away from the $5 dollar foot-long and step into Treebeard’s for some of the best southern cooking in the city for over 30 years.
Treebeard’s has five locations spread out all around downtown. The original location is the Market Square location at 315 Travis St., which was opened in 1980. The second location was opened inside the Christ Church Cathedral restaurant which is called The Clostier at 1117 Texas Ave. It wasn’t until 1990 that the third location was built in the Tunnel below the Enterprise Plaza building at 1100 Louisiana. Then in 2011 the Shops at Houston Center at 1200 McKinney was established followed by the Pennzoil Place located at 711 Louisiana. We went to check out the original Treebeard’s located at Travis St. When traveling down Travis St. to find this location keep an eye out for one of Houston’s best building paintings, which is located on the brick on the outside.
Treebeard’s is your traditional cafeteria style restaurant, where you walk in, get in line, and walk down an assembly line, but there is nothing traditional about this spot. At the Travis St. location you walk in and line up on the left side, right next to the large Treebeard’s sign hanging on the wall. This is where you can find the menu written in chalk on the wall, which shows all the staple everyday items as well as the specialty items depending on which day of the week you stop in. The daily specials include chicken, fish, or other meat entrée with your choice of two side dishes for $9.50 – $11.95.
The day we hit up Treebeard’s the specials were jerk chicken, fried catfish, and chicken fried chicken. We opted for the jerk chicken with a salad, fruit cup, red beans and rice, mashed potatoes and gravy, jalapeno cornbread, and carrot cake. Topping our meal off with a DIET Coke because come on, just like when you order a Big Mac with fries you have to watch your figure for summer with a diet drink. That is how it works, right? Anyway, we grabbed our trays of food and headed for seating which is located downstairs as well as upstairs. We sat down and dove into the mashed potatoes, which were so good that we knew the rest of the meal was going to go hard! The jerk chicken practically fell off the bone and ended up being too much for us since we ordered so many sides. The red beans and rice were some of the best we ever had, the jalapeno cornbread was the perfect addition to the red beans and rice, and the carrot cake may have put us into a diabetic coma with all of the frosting.
Treebeard’s not only has great food in house, but you can use them to cater your next luncheon at work or event with your buddies. Lunch catering is offered downtown for 20 people or more and outside of downtown for 25 people or more Monday through Friday. Evening and weekend catering is available for large private parties and can be booked by calling 713-228-8228. There is a select menu with various meat choices like boneless chicken breast, chicken fried chicken, chicken and sausage gumbo, meatloaf, red beans and sausage, as well as plenty of southern sides to add to your order.
For those that can’t get enough Treebeard’s, there is an online store located on their website as well as items for purchase in most of their locations. For those individuals that are hands on and want to try to tackle some southern cooking on their own, there is a Treebeard’s Cookbook available for $17.95 that is in its tenth printing and is stacked with recipes. In order to make sure your cooking ends up spot on, Treebeard’s also offers their line of hot sauce for $1.99 and seasoning for red beans and rice for $1.95.
Overall, Treebeard’s has some of the best southern food in all of Houston. We had an amazing lunch for right around $20 bucks. The only complaint we have is that they are only open Monday – Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. To the owner of Treebeard’s, please keep one location open for the weekend, so everyone in Houston can enjoy your ridiculously good food without needing to have it catered. To all the Houstonians that don’t work downtown, take a vacation day from work or plan a “doctor’s appointment” during lunch and head to one of Treebeard’s five locations if the owner’s don’t listen to us.