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Jan 5, 2010 09:33 AM

Amarillo report

I see that other posters have found Amarillo a challenge as well, and I thought I'd just share my experiences after being unexpectedly stuck there for a day in the middle of a trip.

Generally: From what I observed by driving around with a lot of time to kill, local specialties seem to include BBQ and catfish. A difficult challenge if you're a coffee snob--- I didn't see a single Starbucks and precious few non-chain places to get espresso or good coffee. Several potentially interesting eating places along SW 6th street west of Georgia, which seems to be an arty neighborhood. There doesn't seem to be much in the downtown business district.

First dinner: Celia's mexican, 6th street west of Georgia: I had a really quite good pork chop, my partner had a combination plate with tamale, taco and chile relleno. The style was unfamiliar to me--- mildly spiced and more tomato-based than, say, New Mexico or most other Tex-Mex I've had. Not sure if it was a local style or just that restaurant. The people were friendly.

Lunch: Ribs and More, 6th and Georgia. A small, friendly place with good beef BBQ and pecan and sweet potato pies that both looked and smelled amazing. I only tried the sweet potato pie.

Dinner again: Excellent takeout from Catfish Shack, SW 45th between Western and Teckla. A tiny little takeout place that somehow looked right. I got catfish, hush puppies and fried okra. Really good if that's the kind of un-fancy, non-health food you're looking for.

Breakfast: Donut Stop. They have pretty good donuts and, importantly, an espresso machine. They seem to be a local chain that has bought up pre-existing buildings, because each location looks different. They all seem to be very attractive 40's-50's-style buildings, though. Several are visible from I-40, including one at Bell.

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  1. I had a very good meal in Amarillo from a guy selling tamales out of the back of his pickup truck in the parking lot of a strip shopping center. Otherwise... not such good experiences.

    1. Patrick,

      There are some good local coffee shops in Amarillo. One local place, Roasters, has a few locations around town now.

      Donut Stop is in fact a local operation that controls the donut market in town for the most part. Pretty solid.

      And about a block NE of the Catfish Shack is a place called Scott's Oyster Bar which I generally prefer over the Catfish Shack.

      1. Wow, there is a place on earth without a Starbucks! There is hope! Any other people know of good places to eat? I'll be there overnight in a couple of weeks.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sarah galvin

          Sorry, keep searching, Amarillo has several Starbucks.

          There is a fairly wide spread range of dinning choices. I see your a wine drinker so you might try the downtown area for either OHMS or Crush Wine Bar. If it is a more regional experience you seek maybe try Coyote Bluff Cafe for one of there many burgers or the steak.

          Got other suggestions too if you are looking for something else.

        2. Hope you had a little fun in Amarillo, you did seem to get around town a bit. We do have several Starbucks and a local coffee shop chain with at least 4 locations, Roasters. Also several other individual ones, surprised you missed the 806 coffee shop on 6th.

          Enough of that though. What I wanted to respond to was the Dounut Stop buildings. The couple who started the chain (with one store in an old gas station I think) about 35 years ago have a son who is now an architect. As I understand, he has designed the last 3 or 4 locations. All new and made to look reto, guess i worked.

          5 Replies
          1. re: SailorWes

            I'll be in Amarillo and would like to know where to eat. I don't want really greasy food but would like something local. What is the good local food? I also like wine but what kind of food is available in those two places you suggested? Also going to Taos. Know anything there?

            1. re: sarah galvin

              Both of the places I mentioned I would call New American with regional influences. Web sights with the menus are, & These are upscale (for Amarillo) places and have good wine lists.

              If you are driving with a night stop over, one other suggestion I would have is Calico County ( Very average crowd, with a whole menu of foods we in the area grew up eating. Not a 5 star dinning experience but comfortable.

              If your looking for the top tourist spot in town, that is the Big Texan. Some people love it some hate it. Great gift shop!

              Been a while since I was in Taos or Santa Fe, great food there. One interesting difference in that area and Texas Panhandle is the differences in the Tex-Mex and New Mexican-Mex cuisines. If your not one to eat that style food several times a week wait till you get to New Mexico.

              1. re: SailorWes

                Thank you, SailorWes (you must be by the sea now?). I might be doing an over night. I would like to try the Calico County, sounds fun. I like local food. Not touristy. I would love to try both Tex-Mex and NM-Mex. I have actually been to Santa Fe and their food seemed just like what I am used to. So will be nice to try Tex-Mex.

                1. re: sarah galvin

                  Calico County does breakfast, lunch and supper so take your pick. Hope you enjoy your trip. As for me, I currently have a view of the Golden Gate Bridge out my port hole. Odd, but I do sort of wish I was in Amarillo.

              2. re: sarah galvin

                Taos has an abundance of excellent restaurants. We happen to like Orlando's and Antonio's, The onion rings at the Alley Cantina are outstanding, as are the pastries at Michael's Kitchen.. Pick up the dining guide (available at Albertson's) and check out Gil Garduno's website - ( for more info. Enjoy!

            2. You found some good places, but I think you missed a lot in Amarillo. For coffee, in addition to the already mentioned Roasters, Ground Café on the ground floor of the Chase Tower is also quite good. Downtown does house several good local eateries, including Acapulco’s Mexican Restaurant (7th at Polk), Eddie’s Napoli’s Italian Restaurant (7th at Taylor) and Zen 721 (6th at Polk).

              For Mexican food, I like La Frontera 1401 Arthur St., Jorge’s Mexican Bar & Grill 6051 S. Bell, El Bracero 3303 block of S. Bell, El Tejavan which has 2 locations, both on I-40, Leal’s at I-40 & Georgia and Joe Taco, just off Coulter at Wallace in the Medical Center.

              Next time you're "stuck" in Amarillo, give one of these a try.