I remember the date because it was the day that it snowed all day – in Houston.
It was also the Friday that the Holiday on 19th Street Christmas celebration was planned.
My wife’s office had closed due to the weather so we had taken the opportunity to take a quick trip down 19th Street to see who would and wouldn’t be open. We popped in and out of shops polling their owners to get a picture of how the evening was going to turn out.
By the time we got to Carter and Cooley to grab a bite to eat, it was nearly 3:00 o’clock and the folks at the deli were in the process of closing down. It was cold, it had been dreadfully slow and the owners had called it a day. Who could blame them?
They were patient with our late arrival and helped us with a quick bite, but we hardly had an opportunity to take the place in.
I decided this week to try it again. After two lunchtime visits, I am pleased that I did.
Carter and Cooley is everything Heights. Having been open for nearly a generation, Carter and Cooley is as much a Heights museum as it is deli. The walls are decorated with dozens of old photographs and authentic nostalgia that chronicle the life and times of The Historic Heights.
The facility itself hearkens back to days ago. The tall glass windows that line the front provide a view of the quiet street outside, which seems miles from downtown rather than minutes. Truly, it has a small town attitude in a big city zip code.
The staff at Carter and Cooley are friendly and genuine. Quick with a smile, when they ask about your day, they listen to your answer and seem to be interested in what you have to say. Simply put, they seem more like neighbors than merchants. The deli, it seems is their life, not their job and the diners are friends instead of customers. The way things “used to be.”
And best of all, the handmade sandwiches are honestly delicious. To use a cliché, they remind me of Mom’s. I haven’t hade a better Reuben in years. Grilled, hot and gooey. Outstanding. I also tried the B.L.T., which is stacked. Hot toast, crunchy bacon and crisp lettuce and tomato. Add a side of authentic Southern Potato Salad and you can’t go wrong. Plus, the homemade desserts are the perfect finish.
From pastrami to liverwurst to ham and turkey, the deli menu has a bit of everything
If you find yourself in the Heights or simply live nearby, stop in and visit. The folks will be happy to see you and the food is worth the trip.
In a fast-paced, me-first world Carter and Cooley is like a step back in time – a step back to better days.