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Mackelis Family Made Houston Cafeteria America’s Best

March 28, 2020

If you want to eat at the best cafeteria in the United States you’ll have to go to Houston and try the fare offered up by the family of Nick Mackelis at the Cleburne Cafeteria that won that honor from Food & Wine magazine last year.

It’s been around for almost 80 years as a revered eatery although twice burned down by fire and having moved after Mackelis, a Greek immigrant from Patmos, bought it in 1952 after leaving Greece during World War II to escape starvation.

He came to Houston by train with only $2.50 in his pocket, a piece of paper pinned to his jacket with the word ‘Houston’ written on it because he hadn’t learned English yet.

“Houston’s beloved, old-school comfort food haven is better than ever, “serving up quality home cooking at reasonable prices to anybody and everybody wise enough to understand just how lucky we are that this place still exists,” the magazine reported.

His wife Pat, 90, comes in every day to oversee that the original recipes are prepared the same way she and late husband did, said his son George, who now operates it.

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