Mel’s Country Cafe has been in the Weirich family since the beginning. Charles Weirich Sr. (Collie) built the original building for his wife Mary in 1977 and called it Mary’s Fried Chicken. All of the ingredients used were grown and purchased from the local farms in the area.
The family also owned and operated Weirich Grocery and the Hufsmith Post Office next door. Tomball and Hufsmith were little country towns back then, where everyone knew everyone else and a trip to the “big city” was still a big deal. Like the original Ma Goodson’s located just down the street, Mary’s Fried Chicken became a local favorite; known as a good, out-of-the-way place to eat where everything was homemade, and you would always run into someone you knew.
In 1985, Mary’s Fried Chicken became Mel’s Cafe; named for her only daughter, Melody. The menu was changed to hamburgers, with the largest being the Mel Burger. With the influx of “foreigners” from up north, Tomball was starting to grow in population, and it eventually absorbed Hufsmith. With the increase in population, came the pressure to expand the business, but Mary and Melody liked things just the way they were with low prices and happy customers.
Sadly, Mary passed away in 1992; the post office and grocery store were the victims of arson and burned to the ground a year later.
As a fresh start, Mel’s Cafe was renamed Mel’s Country Cafe in 1994. The menu was expanded to include other country favorites like fried catfish and chicken fried steak. The Mega Mel Burger was created to top the Mel Burger and provide a challenge to all the new “city-folk” who were moving into the area. Along with the menu, the building was expanded, and the parking lot is now the site where the post office and grocery store once stood. In fact, if you look real close, you can still see the concrete slab and some of the old floor tiles out there.
Collie joined Mary in 2007. He will always be remembered by many of our long-time customers, employees, and business purveyors.
Over the years, nearly all of the family has joined the business: Mel’s husband, Jeff, is the executive chef; Charles Jr. is the business manager; Philip is the financial accountant, and Chris is a busboy and waiter. Some of the original employees of Mary’s, the post office, and the grocery store, as well as members of their families, still work at Mel’s today.
So pack up the kids, come on out, meet your neighbors, and let our family serve your family.