Texas has bragging rights to some of the best restaurants anywhere and it is little wonder with such inspiring influences.
Seafood, from the Gulf of Mexico, Tex-Mex from our Hispanic customs, and Barbeque from our Western heritage are some of the primary reasons to show off our multi-cultural choices in food.
“It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true,” or “No brag, just facts,” are common mantras thrown around the state when it comes to boasting about Texas eateries.
“Sure, anyone can go to a Chili’s or Applebee’s anywhere,” said Texan Abigal Waters. “But there ain’t nobody got the places we have to eat here in the Lone Star State.”
Abigal, or “Abby” was dining at the popular New Braunfels, The Grist Mill with her husband Raymond, who was too involved with his hand breaded chicken fried steak to comment.
“Texas food is about as good as it gets,” said Waters. “Nothing like some barbeque or a chicken fried steak here in the heart of Texas.”
After over 50 years and hundreds of thousands of miles of traveling Texas roads, here is this Headline Examiner’s list of unique (meaning, not a major chain, but most likely a ‘mom and pop’) café’s that is worth going out of your way to dine.
Leave a comment, if you can think of others that belong on the list.
1. Shorty’s Place
Near Falls City and Karnes City, Texas on Highway 181. Old and in the middle of nowhere, but diners come from San Antonio and Corpus Christi to eat their steaks, Mexican food and seafood.
2. Stagecoach Inn
Salado, Texas, on IH35. Since the 1860’s the quaint and historic Stagecoach Inn has hosted famous dignitaries such as Sam Houston and Robert E. Lee. The servers memorize the menu for you. Delicious.
3. Club Cafe
Brady, Texas on Main Street. Actually near the geographic center, or “Deep in the Heart,” of Texas, the Club Cafe has been a mainstay around those parts since the 1930’s.
Update: “I regret I have to inform you that one of your favorite restaurant stops to go out of your way for—The Club Cafe in Brady—has been closed for well over a decade now. The building was last used as a China Buffet, but unfortunately under new ownership, caught on fire during renovations last week. Might I suggest Boondocks or Brady’s Burgers on your next trip through town. Both good eats!”–Amanda Howell, News Editor, Brady Standard-Herald
4. Bluebonnet Inn
Marble Falls, Texas on 281 just north of the river, and serving central Texas since 1941. Try not to arrive during the busy times (go before or after lunch and dinner). Here is a sampling:
Monday 1/4 Smoked Chicken
Tuesday Chicken & Dumplings
Wednesday Meatloaf with Red Sauce
Thursday 1/4 Smoked Chicken
Friday Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas
Saturday St. Louis Smoked Ribs
Sunday Turkey & Dressing
5. Perini Ranch Steakhouse
In Buffalo Gap, near Abilene, Texas. My favorite steaks anywhere. Period!
6. Lone Star Tavern and Steakhouse
On Waco Drive, in Bellmead, Texas, just north of Waco, this old and rusty looking tavern is worth a drive to. I hear the establishment has been taken over by two bright young men, Josh Hale and Scott Studer, who have updated the menu and establishment.
7. Underwood’s Cafeteria
Brownwood, Texas. Hot cobblers, fresh biscuits, steaks and chicken. I also like their barbeque. A central Texas tradition.
8. Big Texan Steak House
Amarillo, Texas. Yes, this is the famous restaurant where tens of thousands have tried to eat a 72-oz. top sirloin steak, a baked potato, salad, dinner roll and shrimp cocktail within one hour. If successful, it is free. If not, it’s only $72.
9. City Market
Luling, Texas. “You might give some serious thought to thanking your lucky stars you’re in Texas,” says their welcoming sign. Consistently at the top of many lists as the best barbeque in the state.
10. Cooper’s Old Time Pit BBQ
Llano, Texas. Looks like they are turning into a franchise (Ft. Worth, Junction, etc.), but this is a must stop for barbeque lovers. During busy times, stand in line. When it’s your turn point to the meat you want in the pit and take it inside for the beans, pickles, onion, bread and sweet ice tea!
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