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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Coogs Choose

Coogs Choose: Students, get to know your Houston

Houston is one of the best places to be wined and dined in. That's why we were upset that students failed to recognize that in Coogs Choose.  |  Izmail Glosson/The Cougar

Houston is one of the best places to be wined and dined in. That’s why we were upset that students failed to recognize that in Coogs Choose. | Izmail Glosson/The Cougar

A few weeks ago, I was chowing down on a $3 cheeseburger a block away from campus. This burger had my head spinning — the finely-ground, juicy beef crumbled during each bite, and that perfect, single slice of American cheese melted and meshed into the crisp veggies and buttery bun.

The family-owned eatery, Cream Burger, has been up and running for 54 years. And to this day, the source of its quirky, noteworthy name remains a mystery.

“You’d have to ask my parents that — they’re no longer with us,” said Sandra Greenwood, 55, who is one of the restaurant’s co-owners. “But I’d have to say it’s because we have ice cream and hamburgers.”

Houston is chock-full of these hidden gems, ones that are breeding grounds for cultural crossover and conversation. For every Cream Burger, there’s a Kanomwan Thai, one of the Second Ward’s most authentic Thai offerings. Then there’s Moontower Inn, Houston’s only brewpub that also cooks up a mean venison dog and burgers topped with fried eggs and jalapenos.

That’s why it was disheartening to see students voted McDonald’s as the city’s best hamburger, Starbucks as Houston’s best coffeeshop and Chipotle as our best burrito in this year’s (and The Cougar’s first ever) Coogs Choose edition, a best of Houston edition that was originally supposed to feature only voted-on categories and winners.

Houston is one of the nation’s best cities to eat and be entertained in. Our city’s population fulfills America’s identity as a melting pot better than any other. Call me crazy, but I’m not sure every city in the United States has Cuban bistros that a Vietnamese family can be seen packing into on a Saturday, or a hole-in-the-wall soul food kitchen that young professionals will wait three hours or more to eat at. That’s something that I believe is unique to Coog City.

So, you’ll see The Cougar staff’s dining, entertainment and lifestyle favorites highlighted throughout Coogs Choose. These aren’t places that were voted on, but they’re ones that members of The Cougar and the Center for Student Media think represent Houston and all of its layered cultures and inspiring character. We hope you’ll learn to call these places your favorite Houston hangs, too.

Oh, and if you find yourself grabbing a bite at Cream Burger, stay off your cellphone while you order at the front counter. Rumor has it the owner won’t hesitate to slam the screen door shut on you mid-sentence. I don’t think they do that at McDonald’s.

— Cara Smith, editor in chief

“Coogs Choose” is a special section produced by The Cougar in collaboration with the Center for Student Media that spotlights students’ favorite places and activities around campus and Houston. While the print issue is no longer available, you can view the stories online at


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