Non-corporate, great vegetarian options along I-10?
Driving cross country and would like some unique spots to sample along the way. We don't eat meat, but would love to get some high quality bbq side dishes. I'm planning on staying in Fort Stockton and then either San Antonio or Beaumont (on my way to the next stop in New Orleans).
I actually recently drove cross-country with a vegetarian friend, including that particular stretch of highway.
In every single town, there was the ubiquitous Chinese buffet. And none of them are "corporate." They're all individually owned.
This might not be your first choice (it sure wasn't mine), but she was assured of finding something to eat.
And some of them even turned out to be pretty good.
Dont' forget where you are, 1newyorkguy. The cattle folk here sued Oprah for dissin their cows. This is serious business.
If you have any meat eaters with you, tell them the Sutton County Steakhouse in Sonora has some of the best steaks around. But you oughtta find something to eat by the time you get to San Antonio. Try the nopales in a salad or otherwise while you're here. Found in most quality Mex-Mex places, it's a tasty cactus.
I'm in Houston so I can't help you with SA or Beaumont, though I'm sure there are options in both cities. However, I wanted to opine that high quality side dishes at Texas BBQ restaurants are not discussions that we have very often. Mostly the sides are lackluster. Typically all there will be is pinto beans (likely with meat flavorings), potato salad, cole slaw and maybe a pasta salad. Occasionally you may find green beans, okra, yams, lima beans, corn on the cob. The focus is on the meat at these places more than the veggies and at some places sides aren't offered other than white bread, pickles and onions..
I'll also offer that Houston is a very good city for vegetarian fare and if you're just intent on avoiding Houston other than passing thru, there are several meals-to-go places that specialize in healthy, vegetarian, and vegan meals. All you'd need would be a cooler to keep something cool for the 2 hours or so to Beaumont.
If you're interested, post here or on the Houston board.
Enjoy your trip.