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I-10 from Houston to San Antonio

Motoring along I-10 from H'town to S.A....tell me about any/all good eats within about 20 minutes of I-10. I know 'bout BBQ in Luling & Lockhart; is anything tasty hiding in plain sight along the highway? IRRC, some place near Schulenberg had a smokehouse breakfast?

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  1. You're thinking of Oakridge Restaurant in Schulenburg. It's good and so is Frank's Restaurant (across the interstate). Also, check out the Kountry Bakery (about a half mile south of I-10) on Hwy. 77 for some fabulous Czech kolaches. Get there early!

    1. I definitely agree on Kountry Bakery, also known as Besetny's; there's one in Hallettsville and Weimar also but the one is Schulenberg is closest to the freeway, just about 1/2 mile on your left. They serve lunches too and I think the Schulenberg location is open until 5. Franks is better than average for a roadside cafe but not knock your socks off fare. They've been in business for decades and moved out on the freeway to survive but they still serve some dishes acknowledging the German culture of the area. Their German plate, a lunch special every day, includes awesome sausage from Kasper's in Weimar and you can pick up packages of kolaches from Weikel's in La Grange and other home-baked goods just in case you're too full to drive on down to Besetny's.

      Novosad's in Hallettsville is good bbq but probably more than 20 minutes off the freeway and only open Wednesday thru Saturday for lunch.

      I saw an interesting place coming through Columbus, Frau Mau's Bakery, Santa Fe Style Breakfast burritos, in a filling station about a mile north of I-10 on 71 or 77 or whatever that highway is that goes through Columbus. They were short staffed and didn't have anything but some baked goods when I was there so I don't know how good they are, other than some very good chocolate chip cookies. I don't know what Santa Fe Style Breakfast burritos are.

      1 Reply
      1. re: dexmat

        I meant to mention Kloesel's steakhouse in Moulton, north of Shiner, if you're up for a big meal. They feature Heartbrand Akaushi beef which is raised near there. I've been in the area several times and never had the chance to try it yet.

        http://www.kloesel.com/

      2. I suggest getting off I-10 in Columbus and drive Business US 90 to break the monotony of the interstate.You drive through the downtowns of the towns that I-10 essentially bypasses, it's much more scenic, and you get a feel for small town Texas. There's a really good burger with fresh meat at the Dairy Cone in Columbus, just as you are leaving town. Schulenberg has Franklin's Fried Chicken, excellent as well. A plus, most of the towns have interesting antique stores. If the pace is too slow, I-10 is never more than a half mile away, so it's easy to get back to the faster but more tedious pace.

        5 Replies
        1. re: James Cristinian

          This is such a good suggestion that I might take a road trip just for that purpose. A lot to see and do and eat along the way.

          Thanks, James Cristinian.

          1. re: James Cristinian

            Thanks; just the sort of info I am seeking. Are the small towns along US 90 generally open for business on Sundays?

            1. re: Hungry Celeste

              I would say probably for Dairy Cone, and doubtful for Franklin's. I forgot to mention Dairy Cone has some really good bacon on their burgers. I'm pretty sure the antique places are open, also check out Flatonia for antiques. Remember, I-10 is just minutes away if you don't find what you want, see earlier suggestions.

            2. re: James Cristinian

              One small correction to the above post: Franklin's Fried Chicken is located in Weimar, not Schulenburg. And one more bit of info. ....Sengelmann Hall, an old dance hall and saloon located in downtown Schulenburg, was recently restored to its glory days and it now includes a restaurant/bakery featuring German/Czech food. Its website is http://www.sengelmannhall.com.

              1. re: lillidalla

                I get these towns confused. Sengelmann Hall looks great, a Sunday roadie looks like it's in the cards, after football season of course.

            3. While 90 parallels I-10 (and in some cases the two are one) and is only a mile or two away, 90-A runs about 20-30 miles south of I-10; it was the southern route between Houston and SA.

              You could pick it up on the east side of Houston off I-10 and cut through the SE quadrant of Houston, coming out on S. Main, or pick it up by taking the outer loop (99) on the west side, or go down thru Schulenburg to Hallettsville.

              If you start as far back as Houston you'd go through Stafford where you could hit Huarache Azteca Express, open 7 days; if you're there on the weekend, be sure to get the lamb barbacoa. There are many here who could recommend places in Sugar Land, Richmond and Rosenberg, most probably open Sundays. In Eagle Lake, Austin's bbq serves some of the best sausage in the state and, sometimes, cabrito, but if they're open at all on Sunday it's going to be very limited hours.

              In Hallettesville, the Kountry Bakery is right on 90-A in the middle of town but only open until 2pm and probably closed Sunday; Novosad's is only a half block off 90-A but only open Wed thru Sat for lunch, I think. On the west end of town is Joe's Fried Chicken, a place I've noticed but never stopped at.

              In Shiner, a couple of places are interesting, but I've never stopped: Friday's Fried Chicken and Country Corner Cafe, both right where 90-A and 95 intersect. Both always have good crowds at meal times.

              In Gonzales, Gonzales Food Market, downtown, 1 block west of the courthouse on St. Lawrence, is well-known for it's sausage. It's good but not as good as Austin's (or Luling's). They also have a couple of items not commonly found in Texas BBQ places, beef and lamb ribs. I've had the lamb ribs and they were very good, almost as good as pork.

              http://www.gonzalesfoodmarket.com/

              4 Replies
              1. re: dexmat

                I've been to Friday's in Shiner, it was just ok. The best chicken in town is, surprisingly, at the Exxon station. They have a pressure cooker, and if you hit it fresh, it's incredible. My wife found this place when she panicked and evacuated to Shiner before Hurricane Rita. There's a place just east of Richmond on alt. 90 called Galvan's Sausage House, great fatty brisket and pork sausage, but closed on Sundays. I love Alternate 90, it brings back childhood memories going to my great aunt's house in Gonzales, plus I got married in the little town of Weid between Halletsville and Shiner two years ago. The thing I like about both highways is that they run next to railroads, and I love trains more than I do food.

                1. re: James Cristinian

                  I'll definitely drive some stretches of 90 & 90A, as I live just off of 90 in LA, within earshot of the train tracks in another town called Luling. Pressure cooked chicken is good when it's fresh, but it goes downhill quick--either the crust gets soggy or hard as concrete.

                  1. re: Hungry Celeste

                    The last time I drove to New Orleans, I couldn't take I-10 anymore so I got off on 90. I think I drove through Luling, but I definitely went through the frog capital of the world, Rayne, where I saw the first Piggly Wiggly I'd seen in years. One thing that struck me about the towns in Louisiana was that they all seemed to have one or two crawfish to go stands, it was the season, and usually open after 4 or 5 pm. It was noon plus when I drove through, so no luck. I would have stopped on the way back, but due to a rather unfortunate 3 am ish incident on Bourbon Street where I tore my knee acl, it just hurt too freaking much to get out of the car, so it was I-10 all the way.

                    1. re: James Cristinian

                      I think I'm going to take a road trip this next weekend. Houston to San Antonio and back. I'm going to mosey. I'll take 90 there. And 90A back.

              2. Thiry years go there was a restaurant and truck stop on 1-10 between Houston and SA called Grumpys. They had these huge steaks (excellent meat). The food was good and the portions were huge. I had heard Grumpy was one of those German farmers from around there and grew his own meat. It was the best place in the area. Is it still therre?

                2 Replies
                1. re: RevImmigrant

                  No, Grumpy's closed years ago. In its place there is now a large convenience store/McDonald's.

                  1. re: lillidalla

                    I haven't been over that way on 10 in maybe as much as 5 years but I remember seeing Grumpy's right on the freeway at Flatonia. I always thought I would stop some day and check it out but never did.

                    If you google on Grumpy's Flatonia you'll get links to both a restaurant and a motel.

                2. I very much enjoyed this thread! I actually am looking forward to my next trip back and forth.
                  I often stop at Frank's, simple food but predictable and good.

                  1. Oh HC, you will be sorely disappointed at the choices of eating places on your route. I follow your picks for NOLA (I'm a cajun gal too) and if you're looking for something that even tastes like it's on the same planet, you'll be disappointed. I haven't tried the bbq places in Lockhart yet but will do so later this month. You see, hunting season is bearing down on us and we'll make that drive to the edge of hill country (SA is our half way point) many times over the next 4 months just as we have done for the last 30 years. We go all year round but step it up quite a bit during hunting season. I've yet to find anything really fabulous in the way of meals on that route. I hope my luck changes when we try bbq in Lockhart later this month. I have not tried Kountry Bakery yet but most of the other places mentioned are good but not memorable.

                    Do stop at Buckee's in Luling - there is a great gift shop and some "to die for" peach jalapeno jelly to take home and have with crackers and cream cheese. You can't miss it, the billboards start in Baton Rouge I think - LOL

                    And if Frey's in Jennings is still there, it's a really good stop just off I-10. http://freyscrawfish.com/

                    I tried the boudin at Best Stop in Scott just west of Lafayette. It was gross. Everything we got from there was nothing to write home about.

                    Also, one of my favorites is Rao's Bakery in Beaumont. Yummo!! However, I did not care for their gelato. But their pastries are really good. The napoleon is to die for.

                    Have fun on your trip and where we lack in other areas, we more than make up for with hospitality.

                    18 Replies
                    1. re: texasredtop

                      I almost forgot about Al-T's in Winnie. They have good fried frog legs. It's really hard to find good frog legs this side of the Tx/La border. They also had really good soft shell crabs but took them off the menu last time I was there. I love their dirty rice and hot bread too. Their boudin balls are good.

                      1. re: texasredtop

                        Can I take your comments to mean that you've tried City Market in Luling - i.e., sampled their hot links and brisket - and find them "good but not memorable"?

                        Really?

                        1. re: Jaymes

                          You forgot to mention the ribs. I find them outstanding.

                          1. re: James Cristinian

                            Right you are. My bad.

                            Can I take your comments to mean that you've tried City Market in Luling - i.e., sampled their hot links and brisket AND RIBS - and find them "good but not memorable"?

                            Really?

                          2. re: Jaymes

                            No, but I'm planning on doing just that in about 3 weeks. I still have never eaten as good bbq as I have in Louisiana though. There was once place in southeast Houston that compared (The Wink) but it's been gone for over two decades. All of the great bbq I had in Louisiana doesn't exist anymore either. There's just something so good about it, not the meat so much as the combination of the sauce and meat. In Texas it's the meat that makes it and can be inconsistent from one trip to the next and most of the time it's way to dry for my tastes. I have been to Rudy's, three of the Cooper's, Goode Company and many others and found none of them better than average. I hope to change that streak soon.

                            We rarely go far off of I-10 to eat but it's always a bore trying to figure out where to stop. I hope to change that soon by venturing a little further off the highway for mealtime.

                            1. re: texasredtop

                              If you're having a problem with the brisket being too dry for your tastes, order it "wet" or "moist" or "fatty" or "off the high side" or "from the point."

                              There are lots of terms to describe that portion of the brisket that is more marbled.

                              And at City Market, be sure to try some of their hot links as well as the brisket and, as others have pointed out, the ribs.

                              But Texas barbecue is never going to be as sweet as what you find in the deep south, like Louisiana. Most of us Texans are glad of that.

                              1. re: Jaymes

                                Thanks for the tips, I'll try that when ordering brisket next time. We are definitely going to stop at City Market on our next trip out west the end of next week. I've have had a lot of brisket that was well marbled and it still wasn't that great. Not bad but just not outstanding. Pappa's BBQ has beef ribs that I like a lot as long as I can get them to serve them without the sauce. I'm not a fan of the sauces here usually (I get them on the side and rarely take more than a sample out of the container) and it was the sauces in Louisiana that gave it that certain kick and it was quite addicting. And as far as being born in Louisiana and living in Texas for almost 40 years, I can tell you that overall Texas scores on everything but the food and the food here is still excellent. I wasn't born in Texas but I got here as fast as I could :-)

                            2. re: Jaymes

                              I tried City Market. The brisket was really good with excellent smoke flavor. We got 2# to go and made sandwiches when we arrived at our destination. The sauce was very good, spicy and sweet. I liked the hot links but my hubby didn't. After reheating they were very greasy but still tasty. The ribs were okay. It's very convenient on our trips to the deer lease so we will try it again sometime I'm sure. I'm going to venture into Lockhart tomorrow and see what that's about.

                              1. re: texasredtop

                                How fun. Thanks for getting back with us. You probably know this already, but a reminder - In Lockhart, be sure to go to Smitty's. Park in the back parking lot, and walk in through that back door. Walk through the whole building - it's a glimpse into the history of the old German meat markets of central Texas and something every barbecue afficianado ought to see at least once. Black's has some uninspired sides but, for me anyway, it's been the most consistently good brisket. You need to try Kreuz Market also, in order to have sampled the 'triumvirate.' Just have a couple of samples at each place so you don't fill up. If you want several sides to go, get them at Black's.

                                There's even a fourth place in Lockhart - Chisholm Trail. Amazing that such a small town can support four barbecue joints, but it seems to. I've never been to Chisholm Trail, but some others seem to like it a lot. Of course, like all barbecue in Texas, there are decidedly mixed reviews. One thing frequently mentioned is that it's cheap, and that unlike some other bbq spots in Lockhart, "the Trail" has a lot of sides, so it's a good place to go if you're "with a vegetarian."

                                I've never made a "Lockhart barbecue run" with a vegetarian, so I wouldn't know.

                                1. re: Jaymes

                                  I hear through the grapevine that Smitty's and Kruez only have prime rib on Saturday. If that is true, I'm surely lost now as to which to stop at tomorrow. Probably Smitty's since it opens earlier and we can leave earlier. We will be taking it to go as we are bringing our cat on this trip. We are planning on sampling one place at a time. I buy enough to last two days or more. We've had property south of Junction for about 10 years and go at least a dozen times a year so it will give us something to look forward to on our next trip. I doubt I will be buying many sides, I'm just looking for some good meat. What kind of a person goes out to eat bbq with a vegetarian? LOL

                                  I'll let you know what we ended up with. City Market was not disappointing but also not as awe-inspiring as I was hoping for. Do you ever make your own brisket? My favorite is a brisket marinated in Lawry's mesquite and lime marinade. Now that is mouth-watering. Very rich and juicy.

                                  1. re: texasredtop

                                    I've got a lot of recipes/methods for 'brisket.' But when I get that hankerin' for Central Texas-style smoked brisket, I don't do that myself. I do realize it can be done. I'm a certified KCBS judge, and have gone to quite a few of the barbecue cookoffs and tasted some pretty fine brisket, but it's a lot of work. It's not easy. You have to smoke it for a long time and keep a very good eye on the temperature, often staying up all night checking it. I know many, many folks that try it - folks considerably better than I at smoking meat, and with much more expensive equipment - and theirs is generally just okay. My son worked his way through college at a small barbecue joint in Austin and he's got a pretty good rig and does a lot of backyard barbecuing, and even he usually buys his brisket from the pros.

                                    I know that there are a great many good rubs and marinades, but my very favorite is just the simply-prepped, perfectly-smoked brisket from the legendary old German meat markets of Central Texas.

                                    For my money, anyway, you can't beat it.

                                    1. re: Jaymes

                                      I was so disappointed to arrive at Smitty's around 10:00 AM to get some brisket to go and there was none ready. The only thing ready was the sausage and I just left without anything. Why would they open at the crack of dawn and only offer sausage? The other places didn't open until around 11:00 so we just left and drove to 35 then south to 46. As we were heading west on 337 to hook up to 46, we saw a Rudy's. I am NO fan of Rudy's but at this point I have all the bbq fixin's in the ice chest so I need to get something and certainly don't want bbq from Junction so we pulled over in the pouring rain and I went in to see if I could get something to go. I got a couple of pounds of brisket and a pound of prime rib. I had him hold out about 1/3 of a pound of the brisket for us to sample on the road. I got the "moist" brisket. Oh my! It was to die for. I liked it better than City Market. We ate it for two days and I was sad when it was all gone. The prime rib was okay but I like mine rare to medium rare and this was more like medium. Barely any pink on it. It was tasty but I wouldn't recommend it or buy it again unless I was sure it was less done.

                                      This was at the Rudy's on 337 in New Braunfels, right off of 35 about 5 minutes or so. The staff there were amazing and very helpful. I was so shocked and now am wondering should I go back and try Leon Springs again to see if it's better too? We drive right by the one at Leon Springs on our way to Junction. Maybe I'll try the one in Houston on 290, we go that way to the Gander Mountain about once every 6 weeks or so. I really would like to have some of it right now :-))) and that is highly unusual for me to speak highly of any brisket. I'm wondering if anyone else has had a recent experience at Rudy's? They are all over the place now. They have like 25+ stores.

                                      Next trip we will leave late enough to put us in Lockhart for lunch so we can try one of the places there. We have to leave early enough or late enough to miss the Houston rush hour traffic.

                                      1. re: texasredtop

                                        Rudy's gets pretty mixed reviews, but we used to live very near to the one on north 183 in Austin, so it was an easy place to meet up with friends and relatives.

                                        We had a variety of experiences there with the brisket, but overall, I'd definitely say more good than bad.

                                        I'd never put it up there with Luling, Lockhart, Taylor, et al, though. For one thing, can't get that great sausage.

                                        1. re: Jaymes

                                          I like the "sause" enough to mail-order it. I'm a fan of tangy-sweet, and it has enough tamarind in it to satisfy me.

                                          1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                            Rudy's has good sauce but I liked the sauce at City Market in Luling much better.

                                            Did you make your trip yet? Maybe you posted about it and I missed it. This thread has gotten pretty long now. :-)))

                                          2. re: Jaymes

                                            The only thing that I didn't like about the brisket we got from that Rudy's was it was a little too "peppery" for me. But it didn't stop me from eating every last bit of it.

                              2. re: texasredtop

                                I don't want to start things off on a bad foot, but I had to create a log in just to take you to task about the horrible lies you're spreading about The Best Stop. While I do prefer Don's in Scott because of the chunky, generous pork, The Best Stop is an institution and even on it's worst days is never gross. Also if all you've had for Texas BBQ is Goode Company and Rudy's then you absolutely have to try some non-chain BBQ joints before you can claim which is the best. Rudy's is good in a pinch, but Smitty's is downright spiritual. The Salt Lick in Driftwood should be right up your alley as well.

                                Sorry to come out on you like that, but when you mess with my boudin it's like messing with my kid.

                                1. re: CornBread1257

                                  Well, it's all a matter of personal taste and ours are obviously different. I spent about $70 in The Best Stop last fall and just about a month ago threw over half of it in the garbage. It was taking up space in the freezer that I needed for deer meat and I knew we weren't going to eat the rest of the boudin or the sausage we got from there. Best Stop was pretty buzzing when we were there on a weekday early afternoon so I'm sure they won't miss my business.

                                  As we drove down I-10 heading home from Tunica a couple of weeks ago, we were discussing the boudin we got at Best Stop. My husband suggested I just get rid of the rest of it. He didn't know I already had.

                                  Nick's in Port Arthur is one of my favorites for boudin, Abe's in Lake Charles and Clear Lake is where I go for crawfish boudin. We always stop at Billy's Mini Mart in Krotz Springs for boudin balls on the way up to visit my kinfolks. We brought them a dozen too, they love them also. My favorite boudin balls are at Boucherie in NOLA.

                                  As far as bbq goes, I can only comment on the bbq I have eaten. I can only tell you what is best for me and I'm not a connoisseur of bbq by any means. I do not like Goode Co bbq. Years ago it was better and I ate there a couple of times. It's yuck now. I haven't ever liked Rudy's until I stopped at the one in New Braunfels. I can only comment on that one location being good.

                                  Sorry to mess with your boudin but I call 'em like I see 'em. I also think it's weird to be talking about boudin and bbq in the same post - lol

                              3. On our recent trip over that way, we enjoyed lunch at Al-T's in Winnie (can't remember what I had, but it was good!) However, that is East of Houston.

                                We ate ourselves into a coma at City Market in Luling. The brisket and sausage were really good, but I particularly loved the ribs!

                                We stopped at the Katy branch of Hebert's Specialt Meats going both ways... I still have two deboned stuffed chickens, some boudin balls and a few crawfish pies in the freezer. They serve takeaway lunch on weekdays. But, if you live in Houston, you probably already know about it.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: onrushpam

                                  I love Al-T's too and especially because I can get decent frog legs there. I can't wait to try City Market. I hope the meat travels well because I'll order some to take and eat when we get to our property in Telegraph. I will be so happy to get some great bbq. Judging from the reviews, I can't go wrong. I do want to try the prime rib in Lockhart too. I adore prime rib.

                                  If you're near Clear Lake, you can also get the same frozen cajun items at Abe's on Clear Lake City Boulevard. I grew up with the Abraham kids in Louisiana and was happy when they opened a place here in Texas so I don't have to drive two hours for mouth watering crawfish boundin.

                                  1. re: texasredtop

                                    Filing this away in the back of my brain.

                                    I've been the type to keep driving all the way to SA. No time to stop for food en route - but a quick pit stop at Buckees.

                                    This thread is making me think that I'd be happy just going for a spin partly to SA.