Die-hard Texans love our weekly trips to H-E-B, and Houston is home to 22 of them. Besides the fact that there are so many produce options (including H-E-B’s very own brand), the stores are well maintained, organized, and usually, always stocked. Shopping for basic items like produce and condiments comes easy, but the fun is in simply discovering something new, and most likely, H-E-B-made.
Through a complex editorial process that took into account online reviews, feedback from Houstonia’s Instagram followers, and our own staffers’ experiences, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 H-E-B’s below. Repeated criticisms included small vegan sections, rising food costs, long lines, and parking nightmares. The upside is that every store has a little character: some say their neighborhood’s location has a better hot sauce selection, while other reviews praise their locations’ fish or bakery departments.
6055 SOUTH FREEWAY
For people living in the center of Houston, this is one of the most convenient locations there is. It’s at the center of the Museum District, Third Ward, Med Center, and Riverside Terrace. There’s a great selection of fresh fish and shrimp, and while this may seem like a busier store, they usually have their aisles stocked. But good luck finding a cart!
The meat department is all the rage at this location. They have different grades and a variety of cuts, plus they stock a good amount of the all-natural meats green label packages of beef, pork, and chicken. The fruit variety, bakery assortment, and overall cleanliness of the store are perks. The biggest limitation is that help may only sometimes be readily available in the flower department.
4955 BEECHNUT STREET
Locals love that the kosher deli section has a wide variety of options. From hamburgers and hot dogs to the Reuben sandwich, they don’t fall short. You can’t go wrong with the rotisserie chicken or the “Meals Simple” section of the store for quick meals. Customers enjoy the friendly pharmacy and not-so-hectic parking garage. Although most H-E-B’s have freshly made tortillas and chips, this place seems to always be in high supply. The downside may be in the bakery department: order in advance and that should do the trick.
7. Bunker Hill
9710 KATY FREEWAY
Bunker Hill H-E-B has a lot to offer, and the best part is that they are known to have lower prices and carry many specialty Texas-made items. This location has a gas station and a car wash, with gas prices comparable to other places nearby. This is not a run-in-run-out type of store due to how large of a store it is and being very busy any time of the day. The long lines inside go quickly, but getting in and out of the parking lot is the issue. Avoid Sundays at all costs.
6. The Heights
2300 N. SHEPHERD DR.
This massive store has a two-floor parking garage, and customers have praised its cleanliness, organization, product selection, and friendly staff. Another perk is that the choice of hot sauces is impressive, and for as busy as the store gets, the lines seem to always be moving. The sample section by the bakery is always lively, possibly due to it being on a raised platform which gives it some pizazz, and the olive bar and wine section never disappoint. Con: too far North for some.
5. San Felipe
5895 SAN FELIPE STREET
San Felipe H-E-B has great choices for vegetarian/vegan meat alternatives and an “out-of-this-world” deli. They also offer fresh organic healthy fruits and vegetables and usually have plenty of parking. Try to avoid peak hours, as the lines inside tend to get rough.
4. El Dorado
18611 EASTFIELD DR, WEBSTER
El Dorado’s H-E-B opened last December, the newest addition to the Houston-area locations. The inside is spacious, neat, and clean, with many checkout lanes. The produce and meat departments are always well-stocked and fresh. If you’re a coffee lover, they have a wide selection of coffees to choose from. Pro tip: If you like sushi, give their sushi bar a try during lunch; it’s always fresh and affordable. Their grab-and-go section is huge (similar to the H-E-B Plus in Pearland), and they generally seem to have a good inventory of products. The downside? Parking.
3. Buffalo Heights
3663 WASHINGTON AVE. STE. 100
Driving by the Buffalo Heights location may seem intimidating because, well where does anyone park? Love it or hate it, this spot has a parking garage with organized red and green lights to help you see where there’s an open space available. The last thing on your mind may be the flower and gifts department when you’re simply shopping for the basics, but don’t skip this small but colorful area. If you want to skip the traditional dozen of roses for your sweetheart, you’re bound to find something unique like an air plant terrarium or indoor anthurium. A bonus seems to be riding the escalator up to the store with your cart, but avoid going during peak hours.
5225 BUFFALO SPEEDWAY
If you’re looking for sushi-grade fish, this location is a must for your next shopping trip. Grab some sashimi for sushi night or shrimp for your Saturday BBQ, and visit the cheese department for a vast selection; you’ll leave with more than you initially came for. The meat department is also all the rage and features custom meat cuttings, dry-aged beef, a full-service butcher case, grass-fed and organic meat, and prime cut beef. Be sure to skip curb-side pick-up, as this location seems to take a while.
1701 WEST ALABAMA ST
While this store is on the smaller side, the produce section tends to be a hit with the variety of organic produce available. It has more of a Central Market or Whole Foods feel to it with a good selection of vegan options and surprisingly, a nutrition service team that will help you find the healthiest ingredients for your next meal. Reviewers praise the convenience of this location and although the crowds can be intimidating, they make up for it with the best craft beer and wine selections. Another mostly unknown perk is the Cooking Connections service that provides H-E-B cooking coaches who prepare a variety of recipes that you can sample every day. If you like what you taste, pick up recipe cards and the products you need right there in the store. You can even ask a coach for suggestions and alternatives. The downside is that it’s always busy—always.