Here in Texas, we know that the best restaurants are usually the ones that seem like they’d be the exact opposite – small, not well-known, often times run-down on the outside, and no fancy decorations adorning the walls. We know that nice restaurants use their atmospheres to distract from the fact that their culinary skills aren’t immaculate. Luckily, there are plenty of places in Texas that don’t need to use such excuses because they’ve perfected the art of good southern cookin’ and are proud to share it with the world – no frills needed. Here are nine of our top picks.
1. Maxine's Cafe (Bastrop)
Whenever you come stay at the
Chainsaw Massacre motel
from my last article, stop in at Maxine's for some scrumptious breakfast before heading home. The pancakes are the size of your head (seriously), the gravy is perfectly creamy, the homemade lemonade is sweet as can be, and the beyond friendly waitstaff are the icing on the cake. It doesn't get much better than this, folks.
2. Bahnhof Cafe (Cuero)
The food may look like a run-of-the-mill southern meal, but it's the lifeblood of all the residents of tiny Cuero. Whether you opt for meatloaf with brown gravy or traditional chicken fried steak with luscious white gravy, homemade, fluffy white rolls or crispy french fries with peels still attached, you'll leave full and happy. (Only after you've had a bowl of bread pudding, of course.)
3. Cypress Creek Inn Restaurant (Comfort)
Although there is no longer an inn accompanying the restaurant, you can still enjoy a delicious meal at Cypress Creek. It's the longest operating eatery in Comfort, and you'll definitely taste the years of culinary experience (and the love) in the food. The chicken-fried steak is rumored to be some of the best in Texas, and the pies are an absolute must.
4. Joe's Place (Fayetteville)
This cute little restaurant used to be a saloon, if you couldn't tell by the exterior. And before that, it was a confectionery and a doctor's office. Many of the dishes are named after local residents, so the small town community vibe is definitely high. The chicken fried steak is dinner plate sized, the sweet potato fries are perfectly crispy, and the green beans loaded with succulent bacon will send your taste buds straight to heaven.
5. On The River (Freeport)
Everyone knows we're big on seafood here in Texas - and what's better than eating it right on the river it came from? Whether you like yours fried or just short of swimming off your plate, On The River has it all.
6. Texan Cafe (Hutto)
As tempting as it might be to stuff yourself silly with fried okra, try your darndest not to - you'll need the room in your stomach for a slice (or two) of the best pie to ever pass your lips. Most days, they have over 16 different flavors in the case, so you're guaranteed to find one that delights your taste buds.
7. Hill Country Cupboard (Johnson City)
The smallest towns always have the most delicious food. Johnson City has a population of under 2000, but this down home kitchen serves food scrumptious enough to bring people from all over. Apparently, the hand-breaded pork chops, black eyed peas, and griddle potatoes are the must-tries.
8. H&H Cafe & Bakery (Yoakum)
Not everyone can pronounce the name of this town, but there isn't a soul in the world that can't enjoy some good old fashioned barbecue. Brisket, smoked turkey breast, all the traditional sides, and homemade donuts for dessert will leave you satisfied and happy.
9. Allen's Family Style Meals (Sweetwater)
Meals like this really take you back to Sunday dinner at Grandma's. Instead of ordering individually, you're seated at a long table with other patrons and served huge platters of fried chicken, sausage, squash, pinto beans, coleslaw, creamed corn, okra, and potato salad, and more that you all share. If you managed to save any room for dessert, the peach cobbler will send your taste buds singing. You may not be able to buckle your belt afterwards, but it's totally worth it.
Have you ever been to one of these restaurants? What other tiny, unassuming restaurants in Texas are actually delicious and completely worth trying?