Al Quick Stop: Family-owned Montrose bodega 'has a little bit of everything'

Al Quick Stop
A neighborhood mainstay for almost 30 years, Al Quick Stop serves a variety of Mediterranean, Tex-Mex and American fare. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)

A neighborhood mainstay for almost 30 years, Al Quick Stop serves a variety of Mediterranean, Tex-Mex and American fare. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)

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A side order of falafel ($5.50), five pieces of deep-fried ground chickpeas. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)
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A former mechanical engineer, Moe Elsaadi took the reins as general manager to help give his father, Toufic Elsaadi, a break from running the store, which has been in operation since 1990. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)
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The gyro plate ($10.69) includes a mix of lamb and beef served over a bed of rice and grilled peppers and onions with hummus and tabouli. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)
For almost 30 years, the Montrose area has had neighborhood bodega Al Quick Stop, a place to pick up a pack of cigarettes, a razor, some snacks or a six-pack that has become much more.

“I’ve been coming here since it opened,” Montrose resident Alicia Campos said. “It has a little bit of everything.”That applies to its stock of convenience store finds as well as its kitchen, which has become the main draw, serving up Mediterranean, Tex-Mex and American fare, ranging from falafel to cheeseburgers, General Manager Moe Elsaadi said.

“It’s just real good food. We cook everything from scratch,” he said.

The kitchen’s solid Mediterranean options have earned it one of the slots in the upcoming Railway Heights development, which will allow Moe to build the business, he said.

After a few stints running some clothing stores, Moe’s father, Toufic Elsaadi, bought the convenience store in 1990 and slowly began building a kitchen. He incorporated Palestinian family recipes and tinkered with items to suit their customers, Moe said.


The store attracted attention for its falafel and gyro plates, he said, as well its reputation for always being open—even on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, popular days for takeout as well as for large catering orders.

“In fact, those are some of our busiest days,” Moe said.

Al Quick Stop has a mix of regulars such as Campos as well as a constant stream of takeout orders, he said, but there are always customers who are surprised when they first walk in.

“It’s cliche to say it, but don’t judge a book by its cover,” he said. “We’re not just some corner store.”

Its open-every-day reputation has endured several hurricanes, including Harvey, selling out most of its inventory and kitchen supplies.

“It was crazy. My dad must have slept here for two or three days,” Moe said. “But that’s what we want to be; we want to be here for our community.”

Al Quick Stop

2002 Waugh Drive, Houston

713-522-5170

www.alquickstop.com

Hours: Mon.-Thu. 8 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sun. 8 a.m.-midnight