Famed cafe draws guests from near and far
Since opening in 1950, Goodson's Cafe has always billed itself as Tomball's own hometown cafe, a title which many residents are inclined to agree with. After being thrust into the national and international spotlight over the years, the eatery has become what one might call a "food ambassador" for Tomball to the rest of the world.
"We have plenty of people who say they came to Tomball specifically because they wanted to try our food," Owner Jimmy Fogerty said. "We've had guests come in from as far as Japan, China and places in Europe."
Goodson's was started up by Ella "Ma" Goodson on the northeast side of Tomball during the oil boom. It moved to the Hwy. 249 location in 1985, which is about the time when Fogerty took over. The restaurant has been featured on the Travel Channel's "Deep Fried Paradise," Discovery Channel's "United States of Steaks," and was recognized by "The Eyes of Texas" television program for having the best chicken fried steak in the state.
As the restaurant's popularity grew, the staff remained dedicated to making everything fresh and with raw ingredients, Fogerty said.
"If we don't start with a good raw ingredient, we aren't going to get a good quality product," he said.
Although chicken fried steaks may be Goodson's calling card, the menu has grown to include seafood, charbroiled steaks, sandwiches and burgers. Chicken fried steak served with Goodson's cream gravy is still the most popular order, but catfish fillets and the ribeye special have carved a spot out on the menu and have held their own, Fogerty said.
Although the menu has grown, Fogerty said the atmosphere he aims for has stayed the same, and always will.
"Even though we've gotten busier, we're still the same Goodson's," he said. "We're still Tomball's hometown cafe."
Chicken Fried Steak—Proclaimed by the "Eyes of Texas" as "The Best Chicken Fried Steak in Texas." Served with two sides, homemade cream gravy and Goodson's famous yeast rolls. ($8.99–small, $10.49–large)
Chicken Tenders—A platter of fresh breaded tenders with a side of honey mustard dressing. ($8.99)
Fried Catfish Fillets—Two hand-breaded fillets rolled in cornmeal batter, served with salad and choice of potatoes. ($9.49)
Ella's Pot Roast—Slow cooked with stewed vegetables, served with two sides, cream gravy and yeast rolls. ($9.79)
Ribeye Special—Tender 10-ounce steak, served with salad and choice of potatoes. ($12.99, add sauteed mushrooms and onions for $1.99)
"They make you feel like you're going home and having a home-cooked meal." -Peggy
"I like the country atmosphere, the good food and the friendly service. I switch up my order each time I come and I've never had something I didn't like." -Wade
"I've been coming here since it was at the old building and the wait staff has always been super friendly." -R. Cobb
One of the things that Jimmy Fogerty, owner of Goodson's Cafe, takes pride in is the relationship shared by the restaurant's employees, many of whom have been working there for decades. The employee with the longest tenure is known by the rest if the staff as Ms. Carrie Jean. She started working for "Ma" Goodson when she was 12 and is still with them now, at the age of 72.
"I really love to work here and I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I stopped," Jean said. "Coming to work is what keeps me in good health, and I'm going to do if for as long as I can."
Goodson's Cafe, 27931 Business 249, Tomball, 281-351-1749 www.goodsonscafetomball.com
- Sun.–Thu. 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m.
- Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m.