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Apr 22, 2010 02:24 PM

Good Drive-In, Diner, or Dive off I35 from Waco to Austin for lunch

We are traveling to Austin from Dallas this weekend and need to stop for lunch and wanted to find "that special unknown place" to eat that has good food, but is not a chain. Adults and children, so nothing fancy.

I thought about something in Salado, but I am really not familiar with the food there.

Any suggestions will be much appreciated.

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  1. Salado is a great little town.

    Don't know how much time you've got, but I'd suggest you park on that main street and take about a half-hour break from the trip to do a little exploring.

    If you want to eat somewhere really "old school," try the Stagecoach Inn. I still get a kick out of eating there, but there's no doubt that the quality of the food isn't what it was back in the day, when the readers of Texas Highways magazine consistantly rated The Stagecoach Inn one of the best restaurants in the entire state.

    But it is like taking a step back in time, to, well, I guess the mid 50's, maybe. And I'm sure many of the waitresses were working there then, too.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Jaymes

      Should add...

      Upon rereading your initial query, should add that Stagecoach Inn is no "drive-in, diner or dive." And rather than be "unknown," it's one of the most famous restaurants in the state.

      But really, all of Salado is pretty upscale and trendy. There probably are "dives" there, where the locals go to get away from the tourists, but I don't know them.

      I will say that I've wandered around West, and seen quite a few less-than-famous family restaurants/diners, but the one that I always stopped at closed a while back.

      Still, I suspect if I were you, I'd take a closer look at West.

      1. re: Jaymes

        I'm sorry, but when I posted about West, I had temporarily forgotten that West is actually NORTH of Waco! I drive the Austin/Dallas route so often that when I think about where to stop along I-35, I automatically think about West. But clearly, that's not on your route from Waco to Austin.

        A more geographically appropriate suggestion might be to take the back way through Taylor. Taylor has several family-style eateries, including Louie Mueller's. Or perhaps Lance's new restaurant - although I'm not familiar with it and don't know much about it, it might be worth investigating. And through Taylor would be a more interesting drive as well.

        Another thought, as you are traveling with kids, would be to pack a picnic lunch. Salado has a great park right along the river where the kids could run a bit after eating.

        1. re: Jaymes

          You can never go wrong stopping at West for a kolache or three.

    2. You might try Schoepf's in Belton. The brisket there is very tender, although not as smoky as I prefer, and the sausage is very, very tasty (I had the hot). They aslo have good sides -- the potato salad may be the best I've had in Texas. The coconut pie also is good

      1 Reply
      1. re: dcbbq

        yes, I second the Que at Schoepf's, and it has the DDD quality you mentioned.

      2. a bit late, but Health Camp on the circle makes a damn good greasy burger; Rudy's for bbq and a fuelstop; vitek's bbq is pretty good, but i prefer rudy's; and the lunch speacial at george's, though not a drive-in, are awesome. make sure to have a big-O shiner bock with whichever you choose.

        Health Camp
        2601 Circle Rd, Waco, TX 76706