British Honeymoon Couple, 7 May 2013 Amarillo, TX
We are travelling from Oklahoma to Amarillo for one night on May 7th. We would like recommendations of somewhere good to eat (and drink) and any advice you might offer us.
Are there any local events on that we should consider visiting? We are adventurous diners looking for some local recommendations.
Any help would be much appreciated! Many Thanks Tanya and Tom
Let me get this straight - you're Brits and for your Honeymoon you're going from Oklahoma to Amarillo? Really? Ibiza too beautiful for you?
Or perhaps are you doing the Rt 66 thang?
If you're looking for something upscale and wonderful in Amarillo, I got nuthin'.
But if you're looking for typical Route 66 Texas kitsch, and something famous, and a photo op, and something to write home about, and an experience you can't replicate elsewhere on this entire planet, you simply cannot beat "The Big Texan."
In fact, you shouldn't even try.
I've driven through Amarillo many, many times and, in fact, used to live just west of there in New Mexico. The food at The Big Texan is actually pretty good and I've stopped in there with some regularity. Interesting (to me, anyway) is that the first time I had escargot, it was some thirty-five years ago at The Big Texan. I don't think it's on the menu anymore, and that's not the reason you'd go to Texas at any rate, so no big loss. It's just amusing to me that, when they opened, they actually made a stab at "fine dining."
As you may have noted from the website, their famous "schtick" is that if you can eat the 72-oz steak in one hour, it's free. They have a live webcam on that table.
You might even be able to work out a deal where you coordinate times with your folks back home (I'm sure there's some sort of time delay for the signal to get to a satellite or something), and go stick your head in front of that camera and wave.
Assuming you don't want to try to actually eat the steak, that is.
I know nothing of that part of Texas either. However, if you're doing a Route 66 thing, the site to check is Roadfood.com, which specializes in iconic roadside eateries and will have a lot along 66.
Under Oklahoma, for instance, check out the famous grilled oinion burger and hot dog places in El Reno.
I see they also have several listings for Amarillo itself.
My experience has been some of the places they recommend have little going for them but history!, but, hey, if it's a Route 66 thang you're doing, you should check 'em out.
We're talking diners and cafes, not find dining.
I haven't been to Amarillo in years, but I've seen this place on the Travel Channel, and the chicken fried steak looks the real deal at the Stockyards Café, and the place itself seems to be a local hangout. I know chicken fried steak, living in Houston, and cooking a pretty good one myself. A piece of advice and a bit of conjecture down here, I like the gravy on the side to preserve the crispiness of the meat. It's something I would hit if I were Tanya and Tom. By the way, is it pronounced Tanyer?
We were in Amarillo for our 31st anniversary last summer, driving through. We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn and ate at a nearby steakhouse, Saltgrass Steakhouse. We had a lovely time. It may not be adventurous, but it was darn good.
Make sure you visit the Cadillac Ranch.
There are some (even) more kitchy western places on the eastern edge of town, but we continued west, the hotel and the steak house are on the western edge of Amarillo.
Here is the steakhouse, (the steak was one of the best we've had, and we are from beef country, Wyoming), and a view looking west from the hotel parking lot, literally on the edge of town. There were some pretty spectacular storms that night, bringing much needed rain.
I just want to put in one more plug for The Big Texan.
Yes, the Saltgrass can be good, and we go to the one located right by us here in Houston, from time to time.
But it's a big chain. I suspect the Brit Honeymooners might even drive by several Saltgrass locations on their road trip.
The Big Texan, on the other hand, is unique to Amarillo. In fact, it's just plain unique.
I can't stress enough that, in my view anyway, it's not to be missed.
We wanted someplace close, without the traffic of going back across town. And we loved the hotel. Although it's a chain, it served a darned good steak. We didn't see any other Saltgrass while we were on our trip (drove I-40 from NC until Holbrook, AZ. (There is one in OK City, and one in Norman, OK.)
Hey, not maligning your choice in any way. We like the Saltgrass steakhouses, too. In fact, we were just at the one located close to us two weeks ago and had a very nice meal.
It's just that these folks are coming from England and "doing" Route 66 for their honeymoon. So they're looking for that sort of Route 66 unique "Americana."
And nobody does that better than The Big Texan.
T&T - are you going to be blogging this anywhere?
I'd love to follow along vicariously with your adventure.
Having lived in many towns along your route, it was always fun chatting with the folks "doing 66" that came through.
The annual Norwegian motorcycle group was particular fun.