When a business has been around for more than 70 years like Bill’s Cafe in Kingwood has, it takes on a historical life of its own. Owner Rob Huber said the cafe has been capturing the taste buds and friendships of generations of families—including his own—since it opened its doors in 1945.
He said he grew up frequenting the restaurant as a patron with his father, Lee Huber, who bought the restaurant from the original owner, Bill Reeves, for $10,000 during a poker game in 1970. Rob said he began working at the cafe at a young age and took over managing the eatery at 18 years old after his father died from cancer.
“My dad and I were tight, like twins; he taught me everything,” he said. “My dad was full of life, and he didn’t need money from the restaurant. He just bought it so he and his friends could hang out here.”
The cafe is adorned with hundreds of ball caps dating back to the 1970s. Original wooden posts used to tie horses still stand in the eatery’s parking lot. Additionally, legends as big as Elvis Presley and Earl Campbell have eaten at Bill’s Cafe, Rob said.
“Back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, this was the only place to eat between Houston and Cleveland, [Texas],” Rob said.
He said he believes customers continue to patron the cafe because it offers a sense of family. In fact, both of his daughters, 12-year-old Rachel and 16-year-old Cassie, also began working at the eatery at a young age just like their father.
Rachel has been helping out at the eatery since she was 6, and Cassie said she began serving drinks at the age of 4. Cassie, who now waits tables, said she enjoys seeing customers who have known her family for years.
“Everyone knows everybody here,” Cassie said.
The cafe’s menu has also not changed much since its beginning: It is limited to less than 10 entrees. However, Rob said the menu’s signature items—such as its 2.5- to 3-pound steak for two and hearty burgers—keep patrons returning for more.
“We can pack in 200 [people]or more when the weather is right because our cafe is authentic,” he said. “There’s nothing else like it anywhere else.”
22845 Loop 494, Kingwood
Hours: Tue.-Fri. 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 4-9 p.m.; Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; closed Sun.-Mon.