Empire Café – Our Search for Houston’s Best Restaurants for Kids!

Empire Cafe Outside
Location: 1732 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX 77098
Age Appropriate: All ages
Price: $-$$

Hi, I’m Juliette! My husband, my 7-year-old and I love going out to eat and we are sharing our restaurant finds with you.

Thank you to all of you for reading my end of the year list of family-friendly restaurants and for your comments. I really appreciate your inputs and ideas.

I hope that the grey and damp weather hasn’t altered your mood and that your family will have a wonderful 2015. I know what can cheer you up: a new review (and sunshine…) and Empire Café is a wonderful restaurant for your whole family.

Jill has written about Montrose being such a great neighborhood for families and Empire Café on Westheimer is in the middle of it. It has a very nice patio, shaded and large and a very casual and welcoming atmosphere. The building has a curvy wall with windows and a large counter with mouthwatering cakes. There is another small dining room in the back decorated in warm hues and nice paintings. The staff is friendly and helpful and their bathroom is really nice, with a lot of space.

Empire Cafe Dips of the World
The menu offers pizza, pasta and sandwiches and a wonderful appetizer: dips of the world ($6.50) with black bean, marinara and spinach and artichoke dips served with warm pitas. It was as good as it sounds!

Empire Cafe Make Your Own Pasta
They have a nice kid menu (they also serve breakfast and that menu looked great too.) My son chose to make his own pasta: angel hair with alfredo sauce and a cup of fruits. He ate it all, what more can I say?!

Empire Cafe Pizza Americano
My husband ordered an Americano pizza, with sausage, black olives, pepperoni and bell peppers. It filled his plate and the crust was delicious (fresh and crunchy). It was a success and the ingredients were just right.

Empire Cafe Eggplant Parm
I chose the Eggplant Parmesan dinner. I never think of baking these at home but I always appreciate them when they are offered and these were delicious. The flavors mixed well and it was tangy and sweet and perfectly paired with a crunchy bread slice. The plate came with pasta and roasted vegetable.

Empire Cafe Cake Case
The warmth inside and delicious food made us forget the cold and rainy weather and we can’t wait to go back in pretty weather to enjoy their patio. Our 2015 resolution as a family is to take pictures BEFORE we eat… to avoid half plate pictures and other reconstructed dishes!!! We will be better in 2015 I promise!

See you next week for another culinary adventure!

Empire Cafe on Urbanspoon

Empire Cafe


Address: 1732 Westheimer Road, Houston, Texas 77098

Cost: Reasonable for a Sit Down Restaurant

Appropriate Age: Any Age

Our Review: The Empire Café is a European coffee shop, cafe and bar that is cool, casual and a little classy. It is located in Montrose, right on Westheimer, and has indoor and outdoor seating. It is not for those looking for the laid back coffee shop. It’s for meeting friends, meeting business partners, grabbing a casual lunch or bringing your kids. Food is ordered from the counter and the staff is friendly and will remember your name if you go enough times.

House coffee and iced tea are refilled for free; breakfast, lunch and dinner are available; and happy hour with alcohol, wine and beer keeps this place swinging into the evening. If that’s not enough, cakes line the counter top and slices are half price every Monday.

My kids and I went to Empire Café, or as they call it – Vampire Cafe, for an early dinner on a week night. The large parking lot in the back made parking easy. Inside we were able to order at the counter and sit in the side room so we did not disrupt anyone. That said, I don’t think anyone would have noticed if we sat in the middle of all the action. The restaurant has a buzz about it and people don’t seem to worry about a few squeaky kids.

There is no kid’s meal, but the menu has a lot of options and the specials always line the counter.  My kids and I shared the Dips of the World (artichoke spinach, spicy marinara and black bean dips; served with baked pita chips) for $6.50, Nutty Chicken Pizza (grilled chicken, cashews, spinach, mushrooms, marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese) for $10.95 and a Caesar Salad (crisp romaine, focaccia croutons and fresh parmesan cheese in a mild caesar dressing with grilled chicken) for $8.95. Everything was great and my kids gave it two thumbs up. The salad had a lot of dressing, and I’d order it on the side next time… but it was Joe’s special selection and he took care of most of it.

The walls have several paintings of voluptuous women and  my 4 year old wanted to know about them. Once I told him that they made the restaurant fancy he went back to eating his giant Caesar salad. Phew. Neither Brooke nor James could stay awake for the time it took Joe to finish his dinner. I personally did not mind because I kept on refilling me black currant iced tea.

We like this local cafe and plan to go back again soon. Next time you are in Montrose, head over to Vampire – I mean Empire – Cafe.

Empire Cafe on Urbanspoon