Mr. and Mrs. G’s, nearly a 20-year Eastside institution, is a much beloved injection of the Deep South into South Texas. Business has been good: You can identify the original building by the walk-in refrigerator next to the front door. Like the rings on a cut tree, you parse each successful year by this expansion and that addition.
While “homey” describes some restaurants, Mr. and Mrs. G’s may be the archetype; it actually looks like someone’s home. Your grandmother may have pink gingham curtains, too, but she probably doesn’t have a Kool-Aid machine next to her cash register. The comfortable surroundings coupled with the rich smell of gravy make you want to ask if there’s a spare bedroom you can stay in for a while.
After eating a meat and three-vegetable plate, a bed is exactly what you need. The food is served cafeteria-style, and you get yours fast. Any time saved on service may as well be spent leaning back in your chair, hands on stomach, slipping into a food coma. On display behind the glass-fronted serving line are fried and baked chicken, tender and juicy; smothered steak swimming in onions and gravy; pork chops both fried and smothered, as well as meatloaf and ham hocks. Moving on, they serve all sorts of vegetables and starches, most notably the yams, sweet with brown sugar. Please eat all your vegetables so that you may reward yourself with one of the house-made desserts, each familiar from your grandmother’s kitchen. Anything that seems to be missing from the soul-food pantheon above is filled in by a daily special — open daily excepting Saturday and Sunday, when I imagine a crowd of lunch-seekers battering the door like the hungry hordes from a George Romero zombie movie. •