Retail News: Former 59 Diner spot to be reborn as newest Pinkertons BBQ

The former 59 Diner on Shepherd is slated to become the newest Pinkerton’s Barbecue location.

Houston staple Pinkerton’s Barbecue announced recently that they’re in the works to bring the former home of 59 Diner back online as their newest location. The building, which is best remembered as either the long-term home of 59 Diner or its predecessor, Phil’s Restaurant, is actually much older than either. The structure was built in 1950 by Guy Francis, a known Houston restauranteur who operated it under various names, including Guy Francis’ Flame House. It was later sold to Lionel Pellerin of Balinese Room fame, who opened Lionel’s Flame Room, an “exotic” restaurant featuring multicultural dishes adjacent to a bar that operated in the same building. The Flame Room would close in the 60s and sit vacant until Phil Bongio purchased the building for his restaurant, which had been operating a few blocks away for years. Phil’s slowly declined in traffic, mainly as the outfit failed to bring in new customers. 59 Diner would take over the space in 1987, keeping much of Phil’s menu and redoing the restaurant to throw back to the far away (then 28-year gap) between 1987 and the end of the 50s. 59 Diner would have a successful run at the property, which ended after the chain shut down in mysterious circumstances in 2016. Initially, the spot reopened as a 24-hour Tex-Mex joint that also served all-day breakfast. In fact, in what seems like a bid to gain back lost customers, the restaurant was even briefly trialed as Another Broken Yolk Cafe, dropping Mexican food entirely before closing for good. The building has sat completely vacant for the last few years, pondering redevelopment. While Pinkertons has yet to announce their exact plans for the building, here’s to hoping there’s at least a reference to the previous incarnations of this iconic restaurant structure.