Good cooking doesn’t have to hide behind the facade of fancy decor, nice atmosphere, and impressive architecture. It’s all about the skill that goes into making food taste great. Sometimes the best restaurants are the most unassuming places imaginable – they focus their energy on preparing quality meals rather than wowing customers with aesthetics. We have quite a few places like this here in Texas, but by using reader comments and critic reviews, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best. Here are 11 more delicious hole-in-the-wall eateries in our state that will please your taste buds if not your eyes.
11. DeWese's Tip Top Cafe (San Antonio)
This little cafe may not look like much, but if you're looking for some good old fashioned country cookin' in the heart of San Antonio, this is your place. The chicken fried steak is bigger than your head, the onion rings are huge and crispy, and the pie is stacked sky-high with meringue.
10. King's Inn (Riviera)
Upon looking at the storefront, you would never know that a fancy, high-class seafood restaurant awaits you. It's a little on the pricey side, so maybe wait and treat yourself to a meal on payday. It's definitely worth the chunk of change - there's no menu, it's a HUGE set meal that gets delivered to your table. Hush puppies, shrimp, drum, catfish, oysters, fries, onion rings, guacamole salad, avocado salad, and a tartar sauce that's to die for. You may leave with an empty wallet, but your belly will be full and satisfied.
9. Blue Bonnet Cafe (Marble Falls)
This little cafe in the quaint suburb of Marble Falls serves up some of the most delicious country eats in Texas. From mammoth portions of chicken fried steak to meatloaf, you can't go wrong here. And it would be a crime to leave without an indulgent slice of homemade pie.
8. Fatboys BBQ (Cooper)
Inside this trailer is some of the most succulent BBQ in Texas. From perfectly smoked meats to creamy potato salad to grilled corn-on-the-cob that melts in your mouth, if you like BBQ, you'll love Fatboy's.
7. Taqueria El Lugar (Tyler)
Who would expect authentic Mexican food in Tyler, Texas? All the delicious traditional Hispanic fare can be found here for an affordable price. Apparently the #7 is a must-try according to countless reviews online.
6. Ranch Hand Cafe (Cleveland)
This rustic cafe has all your favorite manly southern delicacies like chicken fried steak hand-breaded to perfection with all the obligatory sides such as fried okra, Texas toast, french fries or onion rings and more. Come hungry - I can guarantee you won't leave that way!
5. Poor Richard's Cafe (Plano)
Poor Richard's is the oldest restaurant in Plano, and they sure haven't slipped up in quality over the years. Known for their nearly 100 breakfast options like scrumptious eggs benedict, the line is usually around the block in the mornings with patrons waiting to get their country breakfast fix.
4. Stanley's Famous Pit BBQ (Tyler)
They don't called it Stanley's "Famous" BBQ for nothin'. Voted the best ribs in Texas twice in a row by Texas Monthly, you won't be disappointed by the fall-off-the-bone tender meat. And just look at that spread...a little bit of everything is the way to go.
3. Herd's Hamburgers (Jacksboro)
Countless readers have raved about Herd's, and I can see why. Between the soft, buttery bun, juicy patty, crisp vegetables, and creamy condiments, there are few burgers like these in Texas despite all the more well-known, fancy burger joints.
2. Chef's Point (Watauga)
This may be the most unexpected place on the list...because it's a 5 star restaurant in a gas station! Chef Franson has a passion for serving up gourmet food at an affordable price - from sea bass to ribeye steak, crab cake pasta to chicken scampi, your taste buds will be blown away. Don't worry, they also have all your southern favorites like shrimp & grits and chicken fried steak.
1. Mary's Cafe (Strawn)
Rounding out the list at #1 is a reader favorite. This little cafe is known for chicken fried steak the size of Texas and..Tex-Mex? Weird mixture, I know, but you won't be disappointed either way.
Have you tried any of these restaurants? Were they better than their looks would lead you to believe? What other hole-in-the-wall places in Texas are worth a mention? Share your thoughts in the comments!