2.04.2005

Review #9: Sam's Deli Diner - Houston, Texas

This past Saturday - Mrs. TexasBurgerGuy and I were trying to decide what burger joint we wanted to go to. There was one that I wanted to go and check out but I decided instead to go hit a burger joint that was submitted by a reader. I scanned my review requests and found one submitted for Sam's Deli Diner located in west Houston. We made the drive down to Sam's and when it came into site... I got very excited because I knew we had found ourselves a good ol' mom and pop burger joint. Sam's is in a little shopping center. It's a very small place that would be easy to miss had we not been looking for it. As we walked up to the door - we were met with the unmistakable smell of onion rings and other fried goodies. I got really pumped then. That was just the beginning to what became a pretty memorable burger joint experience.

IMPORTANT: If you haven't already, please read the Texas Burger Guy terminology post. That will help you understand this review.

Sam's Deli Diner Cheeseburger Review
Sam's is probably the smallest burger joint I have been to since starting up my site. I was worried that this small burger joint would turn out a small burger. I glanced around at the burgers everybody else had ordered and saw that there was no need to worry. They were not small at all. I confidently ordered a cheeseburger and waited for my order to be ready. We were there at 2 pm on a Saturday and the place was packed. This built up even more anticipation as I realized all of these people would not be crammed in this place for a poor tasting burger. Once my burger was ready and I took my first bite - I realized there was a reason for everybody being there well after the normal lunch hour.

Oooze Factor
When I think of the Sam's Deli Diner Cheeseburger - oooze is not the first thing that comes to mind. What comes to mind are the vegetables and the mustard/mayo combination slapped on the bun. Even though it wasn't really ooozy.. it still was a good juicy burger. The vegetables were fresh - you could tell that the tomatoes and lettuce were store bought vegetables that somebody had sliced up. That gave this burger its good homemade flavor. I didn't feel my heart clogging up while I ate - so I know this one had a lower oooze factor than some of the other burgers I have had the pleasure of eating. Lower oooze factor - but still a tasty burger.
Oooze Factor Rating: 7


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Herd Killer
While there was no herd that was killed for this burger - there was plenty of meat on this bad boy to fill me up. I opened up the bun to take a look at the patty and the vegetables. I think that the patty might be a frozen patty as it didn't have that "natural beef" look to it. The cheese also hadn't completely melted on my burger. For me, a good burger has a good beefy patty with cheese completely melted into the meat. Despite the patty being frozen and the cheese not being completely melted - this burger still had very good flavor and left a good impression with me. Overall - not big and beefy - but good and tasty nonetheless.
Herd Killer Rating: 7

Handling
The Cheeseburger was a 1 3/4 to 2 handed burger. It was big - but it wasn't so bulky or awkward that it required 2 full hands to hold it. Still a good sized burger though.
Handling Rating: 7

Bling Bling

After being completely stuffed and satisfied by eating this big Cheeseburger - I went back and checked the price. I was amazed that it was only $2.75!!! I couldn't believe it was so cheap. Not many places can you get a good tasting burger like this one and only have to pay 3 bucks! Definitely a GREAT value!!
Bling Bling Rating: 9

Overall Sam's Deli Diner Cheeseburger Rating: 7



OK - No - these people in front of Sam's are not friends of mine... they just wouldn't move. :) SMILE - you're on TexasBurgerGuy!!!
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Restaurant Review
Sam's Deli Diner has a pretty substantial selection on the menu. As is usually the case when I take my family with me - we tried out quite a few menu items. Mrs. TexasBurgerGuy ordered the Fish Sandwich (I dunno why). She said it was really good. We also tried the onion rings which were FAB-U-LOUS! Sweet momma they were good!!! We tried the regular fries which were good - but they needed a little doctoring (read salt and ketchup) before they were really good. We also tried the seasoned fries (pictured above) which were really good. I love a good seasoned fry and these hit the spot. Sam's also has Blue Bell ice cream which is an automatic point added to my review. I LOVE Blue Bell ice cream. They even had peppermint which is one of my favorites. Overall - great menu and great food.


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Restaurant/Atmosphere
I know I have already mentioned this in the intro to this review but Sam's is a pretty small place. I think I counted about 10 tables total and they are pretty small tables at that. I get a little worried about disturbing people when I take my pictures for the reviews and there were just a lot of people crammed in that place so we elected to get it to go (you may have noticed that the pictures of the burgers were taken on top of the console in my truck). Sam's is nice though - the perfect mom and pop burger joint. It has been in the same building for 20 plus years. My advice if you want to go is to have a park picked out where you can take your food to eat it in case Sam's is experiencing a rush of people like they were the day we were there.

Directions
Sam's is not a place that sticks out. You need to check the map and be looking for it or you'll probably drive right by it.

Address/Phone:
S. Kirkwood & I-10
Houston, TX 77043
281.497.8088

Map: Map to Sam's Deli Diner

TBG Overall Rating
Overall Sam's has a pretty tasty burger. The reader that sent me the request said he grew up going to Sam's as a kid. I suspect that there are lots of people that go there today probably have been going there for years. That is one of the coolest things about mom and pop burger joints. They not only serve up food - but they rekindle some old memories as well. Sam's is a great little place with a good tasting burger. With any luck - Sam's will be there for many years to come.

Overall TBG Rating for Sam's Deli Diner: 8

Other Reviews of Sam's Deli Diner:
CitySearch

22 Comments:

At 7:37 AM, Anonymous Jim said...

Because if I-1- Consruction, Sam's closed its doors . . but alas, it is now back open in a new and better location. It is on the south side of I-10 ( opposite of where it was) at the corner of Kirkwood. It is in the strip center on the southeast corner.

It is bigger, with more parking, but everything else is the same.

 
At 3:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOAH MOMMA I LOVE THIS PLACE!! I have been enjoying Sam's Deli Diner for almost 20 years now and I can tell you that I have never been disappointed. The burgers are great and the owner will keep you smiling as you wait for your order. Wonderful ambience, great food, superb prices...what more could you ask for. Please be sure to check out his new location!! It has more room to park for sure :D

 
At 6:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The new location on the south side of I-10 at Kirkwood is bigger, newer and easier to get to, but it has lost a tiny bit of the "hole-in-the-wall" ambiance that the old location had, but the food is still great, and the same folks still run it. The new location has attracted more attention and new customers, so that's a good thing. All the burgers are good, but my personal favorite is the Monterey Jack Burger. I'm glad Sam's moved because I think it will help it to survive longer, and we need places like Sam's. It's not easy to spot from the freeway, but exit I-10 at Kirkwood and its on the Southeast corner behind the Shell station.
For a little bit of history, the new location was an old-style pharmacy for many years that had a lunch counter in the back, but it has been gone for a while and was not connected to Sam's in any way.

 
At 7:11 PM, Anonymous R. Dan Park said...

Where else in West Houston could you get Blue Bell Ice Cream, served to you in a cup or done, every night until 9 AM? My favorite is the Orange Sherbet... they spell it 'sherbert' but it's still the greatest.

 
At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's the best food, for a family to eat and get a full meal at reasonable price. Burgers,Hot dogs Ham and cheese sandwiches everything we have is Wonderful. Great people who care nice location. Please try shakes Peppermint a Must.

 
At 2:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

a sam's review and no mention of the "all day burger" ... this is one of my favorite burgers in houston (with Lankfords, christian's totem, and rudyards) and the "All Day burger" is the reason...

 
At 5:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I first ate at Sam's back in 1975 when I went to Westchester Jr. high. It was a great burger then and it still is today.

 
At 9:06 AM, Anonymous K said...

I grew up going to Sam's Deli Diner. We went there at least twice a week during the summers, riding our bikes from the neighborhood pool during lunch, stuffing our faces with burgers and ice cream, and then riding back to the pool and laying around in the sun for hours, satiated. God, I've got good memories of that place.

I'm so pleased to see it reviewed here, even if it's now moved across the highway to new digs. Great post!

-K
sheeats.wordpress.com

 
At 3:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sam's burgers have gotten better. The owner now buys burgers with way less fat in them, so the patty doesn't shrink in size. way better taste.

My favorite is the Chili cheese burger. best time to buy one is later in the day, because that chili has been cooking in it's juices a long time. Wow!

The all day burger.... it takes a real man to eat one of those. I split one with a friend and I was stuffed the whole day. A local high school football player ate two.

www.chadtownsend.com

 
At 5:38 PM, Anonymous Eric L. Younger said...

I was licky enough to stumble across Sam's over 10 years ago and just flat think that Henry has the best burger place on the planet.
My wife used to ride her horse to the old location back when she was way too young to drive. We are both in our 40's now. Sam's quality still has not changed .
I have "broken in" friends and family on the Sam's Deli experience more times than I care to count. Every one of them have ended up going back again and again.
Here's to much success and many more years for Henry. He deserves it.

 
At 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been eating burgers there for over 20 years...Still the best Bacon Cheeseburger in town..Great shakes and they also have great breakfast sandwiches...I hope I'm still able to eat there 20 years from now..

 
At 4:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a disappointment.I would not recommend this place to anyone.They use frozen meat!!I took two bites and threw the rest away.This is no Christian's,Lankford's,Tookie's or Tornado Burger

 
At 8:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went ahead and ate all of mine but I won't ever do it again. The problem, I think, is in the patties that they're buying. I tasted my son's burger from the children's menu and it was decent.

 
At 1:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best Burger in town. Been going there since I was 5 years old, and Henry still knows how to make a damn good burger. There hot roast beef sandwiches are pretty excellent too.

 
At 1:36 PM, Anonymous BillDouchiest the Wild Swine said...

I've been going to Sam's for 30 plus years. I prefer the new location. Great food and great prices.

Whoever said Lankfords? Geez, they suck.

 
At 1:46 PM, Anonymous Richard Mayer said...

I have been going to Sam's Deli Dinner for at least 30 years. I can even remember Sam. Wow I am getting old. My favorite is the Chili Cheese Burger Basket with regular fries. Heck, even the fountain Coke is good. I am carrying on the tradition with my kids. They love the corn dogs and so do I . Don't miss a great oppurtunity to have a good burger and some great milk shakes.

 
At 4:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous, maybe it's the inside of your mouth that taste bad. My whole family loves this place and so do I. I'm a FOODIE but you'd never know it because I do not look the part. Burger on Sam......

 
At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks Tookie's or Tornado Burger is better than this place is NUTS!! Great atmosphere, great burgers, great extras (Byron Freeze), and GREAT people. Can't wait to try the new location in Katy near Katy Mills Mall...My 7 and 5 year old boys don't want to eat anywhere else...That's what a burger joint is about!! 'Nuff said!!!

 
At 11:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greta! Great! Great!

This place is the bomb. All I can say is just try it.

 
At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sams' Deli Diner just expanded the I-10 @ Kirkwood location, and also added a monster burger called Katy Special which is a triple pattie bomb that dwarfs the All Day Special, you need to try it. Thier burgers are still some of the best in Houston, Texas after all these decades. I eat their 2 times a week, they also have a great breakfast menu with omelettes, tacos, and my favorite, a sausage, egg, cheese with grilled inions on a bun.

 
At 1:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just randomly came across your blog while searching for Lankfords burgers in Houston. I LOVE the fact that you have mentioned Sam's Deli. In fact, I have many fond memories at the original one. It was close to a private school that I attended and we would frequent Sam's at least three times a week. Did you know that there is a second Sam's Deli on Harwin in one of the trade buildings? Just thought you should know.

Cheers!
Vaneesa T.

 
At 9:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The hamburger patties are frozen from a box. Don't believe me, ask them like I did.

 

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