Carriage House Cafe

Many restaurants in Texas make it a point to honor the Texas spirit, either in their food or decorations, but few do it with the dedication to historical authenticity as The Carriage House on Fallbrook Drive.

Like its namesake suggests, horse and carriage culture is notable in the eatery's dcor. Cowboy hats, saddles, old photos and stirrups can be seen in the rooms that make up the dining area. Signs hang from the ceiling at the entrance, telling customers to tie their horses out back and that water and hay is free, but grain costs extra. Owner Alvie Fritsche took it upon himself to build and design the interior all on his own with money out of his own pocket.

"It's not the same as a lot of places where this stuff is just for show," he said. "We've actually used this gear with our carriages. It's as real as it gets."

The restaurant's menu features Southern favorites ranging from burgers to chicken fried steak. The barbecue, smoked for 16 hours, epitomizes sweet, original Texas barbecue, Fritsche said.

"Traditional Texas style means you cook it really slowly until it's practically falling off the bone and you usually use a tomato-basil sauce to give it that sweetness," he said. "All of these are from my own recipes."

The restaurant also offers catering services for local businesses and events.

"Tell us what food you want, from beef burgundy to barbecue to grilled steak, and we'll cook it on site," Fritsche said.

Business started slow for The Carriage House, with the restaurant pulling in less than $50 per day in its first few weeks.

"Now we're making about $1,500 per day, and with catering, we have $2,000–$3,000 days sometimes," he said. "We still get people coming in saying they didn't even know we were here or that we were a restaurant, but we're doing much better now."

Authentic atmosphere

Before it was a restaurant, the building for The Carriage House was used to house buggies, carriages and wagons. On top of owning and running the restaurant, Alvie Fritsche also operates a horse and carriage company for weddings, parties and other special events. He keeps and maintains 14 horse-drawn carriages, such as Cinderellas, Victorias and vis-a-vis style carriages. His horses are stabled in a field behind his restaurant, including two 2,000-pound Belgian draft horses.

Honoring horses

The Carriage House makes it a point to honor horses, which owner Alvie Fritsche believes were critical in Texas history. The opening of Carriage House was even delayed when Fritsche took the time to enroll his daughters in the Harris County Sheriff's Office Junior Mounted Posse—a nonprofit equine drill team that serves the HCSO as goodwill ambassadors to the community. As a result, he found himself spending more and more time with them riding and practicing.

Owner recommendations

  • Traditional Texas Chicken Fried Steak—A half-pound of quality round steak in a crispy seasoned crust and covered in traditional thick, creamy gravy ($8.95)
  • 20 oz Double Chopped Steak Burger—Freshly ground daily, seasoned with herbs and spices and served with fresh tomato, iceburg lettuce and seasoned french fries ($8.95)
  • Barbecue Combo—Original Texas barbecue slow smoked for 16 hours. Meat choices include brisket, sausage, chicken and chicken fried steak, served with salad and side ($9.95)
  • BBQ Stuffed Tator—Baked potato filled with chopped sweet Texas barbecue ($6.50)
  • Creamy Banana Pudding—$2.50

Carriage House Cafe

7955 Fallbrook Drive

Houston 281-469-2002

www.thecarriagehousecafe.com

Hours: Tue.–Thu. 11 a.m.–9 p.m.

Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–10 p.m.

Sun. 11 a.m.–3 p.m.

Closed Mon.

By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.