Herman and Lorene Brenner opened Brenner’s in 1936. The steakhouse was originally called Brenner’s Café. The young newlyweds had met while working together at a restaurant in Downtown Houston called “The Old Vienna.” When Herman and his wife Lorene decided to open the new restaurant, Herman was working as a waiter at the Rice Hotel and was able to save $20. The couple put $10 toward the purchase of the land and $10 toward the construction of the restaurant. When the restaurant was completed, the Brenners lived in a small area in the back. The restaurant served light fare such as breakfast, sandwiches, fried chicken and some steaks, which were rarely sold because few people had the money for such extravagances. In the early 1950's, Brenner’s began serving prime beef with filets selling for $3.50. At that time, Houston was expanding west, and the original building had to be sold to make way for the construction of Katy Road. The restaurant was relocated to its current location. This new location gave ample room for the Brenners to create their lush gardens in the back of the restaurant. These fabled gardens were said to have been a re-creation of picturesque scenery from Mr. Brenner’s native Germany.
As Houston continued its westward expansion, many new homes were built along Memorial Drive.
The area residents took great pride in claiming they had found a charming little restaurant
that was an absolute treasure and would remain their secret. These customers became known as
“the Station Wagon Set” and they shared their “secret” much to the advantage of Brenner’s.
Other prominent clientele included the old-time oilmen who could afford the “good things in
life.” This behind-the-scenes notoriety soon developed into national acclaim and recognition.
Mr. Brenner passed away in 1976 at the age of 67. Mrs. Brenner continued to operate the
business for many years thereafter, and passed away in 2008. Her recipes will live on with
Over the years, Tilman Fertitta, Chairman, President and CEO of Landry’s Restaurants, Inc.,
enjoyed dining with his family at Brenner’s, which was located near his home. The Fertittas
would gather at Brenner’s for special occasions, family celebrations and just to enjoy the
great food. Brenner's had closed in the summer of 2002, and in an effort to keep this
historical Houston restaurant in the community, Landry’s decided to purchase the location
and revitalize the concept. Brenner’s was a long time Houston tradition and Tilman wanted
to bring back the tradition by renovating the restaurant and expanding the garden area,
adding beautiful landscaping, a water garden and a gazebo for weddings and other special
In order to maintain its delectable menu selections, Landry’s Executive Chef Kathy Ruiz worked alongside Mrs.
Brenner to re-create some of Brenner’s favorite dishes. Some of the favorites include Crunchy German Potatoes,
Homemade Roquefort Salad Dressing, and the incomparable Apple Strudel. The warm atmosphere for which Brenner’s
is known, as well as its delicious food and personalized service will once again be available to all diners that
visit the charming little restaurant once known as “the Station Wagon Set ” secret.