A Texas road trip is upon us. And that includes some requisite smoked meat and chicken-fried steak eating.
Since Texans are predominantly devout carnivores laying claim to about 268,820 square miles of land, there are many eateries to discover. So we rounded up a list of the best small-town places to visit when you’re making your way around the Lone Star State.
Some of the restaurants in this roundup don’t offer much in the way of ambiance, but they deliver food so delicious and memorable, you’ll go well out of your way just for a meal and some leftovers. Of course, Texas is also known for its Gulf seafood, so a great coastal outpost made the roundup as well.
The “Original Black’s Barbecue” opened in 1932. Now four generations of the Edgar Black family later, the Original Black’s in Lockhart is the oldest BBQ joint in Texas, always owned by the same family. The Original Black’s BBQ continues to serve generations of Texans.
Black’s Barbecue is located at 215 N. Main in Lockhart; Black’s has recently opened a second BBQ location in Austin, at 3110 Guadalupe Street.
Weikel’s Bakery, known for its homemade authentic Czech kolaches and other pastries, has been making and serving homemade food in La Grande (2247 State Highway 71 West) for decades. Weikel’s kolaches are noted for their fluffy soft and sweet dough, a closely guarded secret family recipe. A second location is scheduled to open in September 2017 in Brenham at 2155 U.S Highway 290 West.
Smitty’s began around 1900 as Kreuz Market, a German butcher shop that sold fresh meat during the week and smoked whatever was left over on the weekend. The Kreuz name endured even after Edgar “Smitty” Schmidt bought the business, in 1948. It was still in use in 1999, when one of Edgar’s three children, Rick took the Kreuz name to a new location. Daughter Nina Schmidt Sells and her son, John Fullilove, kept the fires burning and reopened under the current name.
Entering from the parking lot you’ll pass waist-high brick pits and perusing the list of post oak–smoked meats (brisket, pork ribs and chops, shoulder clod, sausage, prime rib), some of the finest barbecue in all of Texas. Located 208 S. Commerce Street.
It was hard to believe the locals when we were told that one of the best restaurants around was Kloesel’s. After some hesitation, we stopped for lunch en route to the little brewery in Shiner to give it a shot and what a pleasant surprise. The food was truly amazing and good value. Great atmosphere and friendly service.
We have eaten here over the years numerous times and have always been impressed with their food and staff. Particularly love their chicken fried steak—and desert.
There are few places we love as much as the pit room at City Market. Entering the smoke-filled, glass-enclosed chamber at the back of the dining room is an experience you will remember .
Come here for the BBQ. The brisket, ribs, and sausage are well cooked—tender and off the bone delicious. This is definitely a no frills place so don’t expect restaurant service. But, trust me you will dream about this place until your next visit. Located at 633 East Davis Street.
When in the Galveston area, a trip to Stingaree in Crystal Beach is at the top of our list of “must-do” events. It is not just the food, it’s the whole experience. Located on Bolivar Peninsula, this well-worn, roughhewn, two-story establishment stands next to the Intracoastal Waterway, with an amazing view of tug boats and barges. To get there from Galveston you ride the Boliver ferry.
Stingaree is famous for many things: the beautiful sunsets seen from its deck, the giant tug boats and barges that pass within feet of its windows, and wonderful Gulf Coast seafood—barbecue crab, fried catfish, shrimp and oysters, Red Snapper Ponchartrain, Crabmeat Au Gratin, etouffee, and gumbo.
During the winter months the Stingaree has one of the best seasonal dishes you’ll find anywhere on the Gulf Coast—Oyster Jubilee (oyster season traditionally ends in April).
Texas Spoken Friendly
I am not a glutton—I am an explorer of food.