We Texans know the best restaurants are tucked away in our state’s smallest towns. They’re the kinds of places only locals know about, where a table is always open and service comes with a heaping side of Southern hospitality. There seems to be no shortage of these eateries here in the Lone Star State, so here are 11 more of our favorites.
1. Duke's BBQ (Cleveland)
Duke's is a prime example of not judging a book by its cover. Most people would pass this run-down trailer right up without a second thought, never knowing what they're missing. Some of the nation's best BBQ definitely makes up for a less-than-stellar atmosphere, with slow-smoked meat so tender it falls off the bone. BBQ baked potatoes, ribs, and sausage are the crowd favorites. Pro-tip: order your sauce on the side - good 'cue doesn't even need it. Address: 703 North San Jacinto Avenue, Cleveland, TX 77327.
2. Del Norte Tacos (Godley)
In a town called Godley, the mouthwatering food at Del Norte Tacos can only be described as holy. Located in a kitschy restored gas station, this Tex-Mex joint dishes out smothered burritos, blackened steak tacos, and complimentary, all-you-can-eat ranch-style beans. Regular live music keeps the vibe upbeat and perfect for unwinding after a hard week. Address: 101 TX-171, Godley, TX 76044.
3. Manuel's (Port Isabel)
This picture doesn't do the homemade tortillas justice - they're easily bigger than your head! Texas-sized portions of authentic Mexican cuisine ensure nobody leaves the table hungry. Breakfast tacos, seafood omelettes, and tons more sensational concoctions make a great breakfast or lunch. Address: 313 East Maxan Street, Port Isabel, TX 78578.
4. Maypearl Roadhouse (Maypearl)
Texas is full of restaurants claiming to have the best chicken-fried steak around, and Maypearl is definitely up in the ranks. The crust has a perfect bite, giving way to tender, juicy meat that practically melts in your mouth. Add on the most decadent country gravy imaginable, and you've got a five-star supper. Oh, and the mashed potatoes are homemade with skins included! Address: 220 South Main Street, Maypearl, TX 76064.
5. The Forge Bistro (Ben Wheeler)
Despite being located in a town with fewer than 500 residents, this charming restaurant always has a full house. Classic Southern dishes and more sophisticated entrees alike provide a wide range of options sure to satisfy every palate. No matter how full you are, don't forgo dessert - it doesn't get much better than homemade cinnamon ice cream atop a warm apple crisp. Address: 1610 FM 279, Ben Wheeler, TX 75754.
6. Onions (Borger)
One step inside Onions, and you'll be transported back to the 1950s. Checkered linoleum floors and loud red and green walls dotted with Texas oil boom memorabilia create a retro atmosphere you'll never want to leave. The burgers are second-to-none, fries always perfectly seasoned. Try to save room for a slice of homemade pie! Address: 502 North Main Street, Borger, TX 79007.
7. Bob's Taco Station (Rosenberg)
This unassuming little shack was featured on "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives," so you know it's gotta be good. Breakfast is served all day - a demand from locals who couldn't get enough of the mouthwatering tacos. Go for the combo plate to try a little bit of everything. Address: 1901 Avenue H, Rosenberg, TX 77471.
8. Gogo Gumbo (Boyd)
You'll never have a bad meal at this hidden gem of a restaurant. From gumbo and crab-stuffed shrimp to bread pudding and coconut cream pie, everything is simply delicious. Address: 116 Rock Island Avenue, Boyd, TX 76023.
9. Fee's Knic Knacs Cafe (Ringgold)
Everything at this quirky roadside cafe looks like it was prepared by the world's finest chefs. An extremely diverse menu features everything from steak to seafood, all cooked and seasoned perfectly. If you ever find yourself near the Oklahoma border, do your taste buds a favor and stop here. Address: 13307 US-82, Ringgold, TX 76261.
10. Prime Cut Steakhouse (Montague)
We Texans know small-town steakhouses are where the real flavor is, and Prime Cut doesn't disappoint. It's arguably better than any of the fancy spots in DFW, without a strict dress code or outlandish prices for tiny portions. The atmosphere is laid back and inviting, perfect for a relaxing weekend dinner. Address: 10343 TX-59, Montague, TX 76251.
11. PoPo's (Boerne)
This family-owned hole in the wall is charming inside and out. More than 2,000 pieces of china from all over the world serve as wall decor, and home-cooked meals never disappoint. CFS, meatloaf, chicken and dumplings...the whole nine yards. Our mouths are definitely watering. Address: 829 FM 289, Boerne, TX 78006.
Have you eaten at any of these charming small-town restaurants? Did we miss your favorite spot? Let us know!