Mel’s County Cafe: A Family Heritage of Good Food & Southern Hospitality

Mel's Country Cafe Tomball

If you’ve never heard of Mel’s Country Cafe, you better be new to Houston. Arguably the best restaurant for southern comfort food, fresh-from-scratch cookin’, and a homey country feel, Mel’s is one of our very favorite restaurants. This week we had the honor of chatting with Jeff Henry, owner and top chef, plus the husband of the cafe’s namesake, Melody Weirich. Jeff is a very friendly guy, so if you stop by for a bite, be sure to say hi. Here’s our interview:

So tell me, what's the latest with Mel's?

As far as the latest with Mel’s, we are the type of restaurant that may be referred to as old dependable. We run a lot of different country and Cajun specials during the week, but we are very consistent with our food. You can always get a good meal and a lot of it. My brother in law and business partner, Charles Weirich, and I are almost always here making sure things run smooth.

So tell me, what's the latest with Mel's?

As far as the latest with Mel’s, we are the type of restaurant that may be referred to as old dependable. We run a lot of different country and Cajun specials during the week, but we are very consistent with our food. You can always get a good meal and a lot of it. My brother in law and business partner, Charles Weirich, and I are almost always here making sure things run smooth.

Do y’all have any upcoming events?

We are open for Mother’s day. We run different specials and give all the moms roses. It’s a very busy day. We also work with the Basset Buddies Rescue Of Texas and do an adoptions on Saturday once a month to raise money and help with adoptions. We donatie a dollar for each dessert we sell to them that day. We help out a lot of the local organizations and sports teams when we can. We also run an all-you-can-eat fried catfish and popcorn shrimp special every Friday evening from 5 to 10. We go through about 300 pounds of catfish on a Friday.

What's your current favorite menu item?

My favorite menu item is our catfish veracruze special, (cajun grilled catfish, with shrimp and crawfish in a rich cilantro cream sauce over rice). We run that one once every four weeks. As far as the every day menu, it would have to be the fried catfish.

What's your current favorite menu item?

My favorite menu item is our catfish veracruze special, (cajun grilled catfish, with shrimp and crawfish in a rich cilantro cream sauce over rice). We run that one once every four weeks. As far as the every day menu, it would have to be the fried catfish.

If someone has never been to Mel’s, what’s the first thing you’d recommend they try?

For new customers, I would suggest the Mel’s Mixed, because it is a combination of chicken strips, catfish, steak fingers, and fried shrimp, so you can try several different items. A lot of people come here for one item or another and never try another item, but when they do, they love it.

Tell us about your E-Club.

You sign up with your email, and you get a $10.00 coupon right away. You also get coupons for your birthday and anniversary. Every month I send out specials as well and we have had great response from it. We have thousands of people signed up with our E-Club already.

Tell us about your E-Club.

You sign up with your email, and you get a $10.00 coupon right away. You also get coupons for your birthday and anniversary. Every month I send out specials as well and we have had great response from it. We have thousands of people signed up with our E-Club already.

Sign up for Mel's E-Club via their Facebook page!

One of the things everyone notices when visiting Mel’s is The Wall Of Fame. Who thought up The Mega Mel, and about how many folks do you have on your wall?

The Mel’s Wall of Fame was thought up by my wife Melody, hence the name “Mel’s.” We had a man named Leon that used to come in and he got the Mel Burger, which is a pound of meat, half a pound of bacon, and the trimmings. He told her it was not big enough so she made him the Mega Mel; a pound and a half of meat, pound of bacon, quarter pound of cheese, and all the trimmings. It started as a gimmick but helped put us on the map. If you eat it within two hours you get your name on our wall and a tee shirt to prove you finished. We have around 300 people that have finished the Mega Mel with their times next to their names. Even two women have finished it as well. It’s funny, but when I first moved here and met my wife, everyone always talked about Ma Goodson’s, and how their chicken fried steak used to fall off the plate. It became a Tomball legend. They are still around on 249, but we have kind of taken their place as far as gimmicks. Even outside the Mega Mel, we always use fresh food and huge portions.

Tomball has experienced exponential growth over the past couple years. What are your ideas about how it can retain its small town feel?

Yes, Tomball is growing, but I really feel it is still a tight-knit community. I am on the board of directors now with the Chamber Of Commerce, and the city always has some type of festival, parade, or event going on. The community does a lot of networking and supports each other. The law enforcement gets involved as well. I love Tomball and am proud to be a part of it.

Can you explain how businesses like Mel's contribute to Tomball's small town heritage and keep the historic feel alive?

We are “off the beaten track” from Tomball, and kind of hard to find sometimes, but you get that country feel when you come here. Sometimes the neighbors chickens get loose and end up in our back yard of the cafe. as far as the rest of Tomball, a lot of the stores on main street are still a lot of the old stores from years ago, mixed in with the new.

Copy of Can you explain how businesses like Mel's contribute to Tomball's small town heritage and keep the historic feel alive?

We are “off the beaten track” from Tomball, and kind of hard to find sometimes, but you get that country feel when you come here. Sometimes the neighbors chickens get loose and end up in our back yard of the cafe. as far as the rest of Tomball, a lot of the stores on main street are still a lot of the old stores from years ago, mixed in with the new.

What are some other local family owned businesses that you’d recommend our readers check out?

Ted and Sylvia Johnson own The Original Rib Tickler. They’re super people. A lot of history with them as well, and just plain old hard-working people. You would love talking to Ted. Tell him Jeff with Mel’s sent you! Johnny Bang’s Bang & Bump Auto Repair Shop is a long time company as well. Good man. Gloyer’s Pharmacy is another.

What are your long term plans for Mel’s? Where do you see the restaurant in 10 or 20 years?

Long term, just keep on going for now. My children, Mary Beth and Chris work here as well. Who knows, maybe someday they may run it, and continue our catering department as well.


What do you think of Mel’s Country Cafe? Tell us in the comments below!



Jennifer Grassman is a writer and public relations specialist based in Houston. She enjoys reading to her three daughters, singing, designing websites, working from home, baking, and publishing The Pink Armadillo.