I finally bit the bullet and tried Dot's Diner at Gulfgate after driving by all the time for over 20 years, as well as being a regular next door at the Brisquit House (aka Pappa's BBQ).
This is a Pappa's chain, and we were very impressed with our meals. My grandfather was right. Basically they have you average diner food: burgers, salads, cafeteria plates, etc.
I went for "Dot's Famous Chicken Friend Steak", and my wife built a plate off the daily special of chicken fried chicken, green beans and slaw.
Excellent gravy, nice crispy fried outside, and moist thin cut meat inside, a little juicy (grease, but the good kind). Comes with well seasoned fries and a very good cole slaw built for fried food (dry, not wet, and a little sweet if that makes any sense).
The chicken fired chicken was very hardy. Almost better than the beef. It's the crust that makes them both so good.
I also ordered a bowl of vegetable soup (oink) which was good, although you could tell they use frozen veggies. My wife orded a dinner salad that had tons of cucumbers, cabbage and roma tomatoes. Each at $1.50. Next time I'd get the salad instead.
Total for two was $19.00 including cokes. I'll go back again and give their sandwiches a try.
BTW - if you are like me and remember going to Sakowitz's and Joske's when Gulfgate Mall was the place to be, you would not believe your eyes. It has been totally torn down, and there is a lot of new development like a Lowe's, Boudreaux's Cajun, a full service HEB, Home Depot, Sonic and a number of others. Hey, technically it's inside the Loop which qualifies it as "cool" in my book ;-)