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Dallas to Houston

Driving to Houston and don't need any recommendations while I'm there. However, anyone have some can't miss stops while en route?

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  1. The last time I made that drive, which has been a while, it was pretty sparse of "can't miss stops." Willie Nelson had a cafe near Hillsboro that I had on my radar but it has closed. In Huntsville, there's a Bob Luby's which is a part of the Luby's chain and different in that it specializes in seafood and is a local's favorite (with table service), but not "can't miss." There are some great places in the Woodlands, but you may consider that Houston. It's only 4 hours, might want to wait until you get here!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Lambowner

      I appreciate the advice. Would love to wait but am leaving at lunch time, really just trying to justify finding something en route instead of eating in Dallas. If only there was a czech stop equivalent on 45...

      1. re: demigodh

        Well, since you mention the Czech Stop, most informed kolache-seekers would tell you to drive right past it. Go into town to the Village Bakery. That's where the locals go. There and Gerik's Ole Czech Smokehouse & Bakery.


        Skip the Czech Stop next time. Sure, they've got the best location.

        But not the best kolaches.

    2. Haven’t made the drive myself in decades so I have no personal recs but the topic has come up in the past, probably over on the Texas board. I remember someone I very much trusted, the late danhole, would always suggest Woody’s in Centerville. It’s not clear if you could get a meal there or just some jerky and baked goods to fashion a snack out of.


      Head over to the Tx Board and do a search for Woody’s and probably any thread it’s mentioned in will be about the eats along 45 and you may pick up some more recs.

      You might also check out Daniel Vaughn’s Full Custom BBQ Blog to see if he has any finds any where along the route.

      There is, of course, the famous Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church BBQ in Huntsville but I’m not sure of the hours or days so you’ll have to look it up.

      1. We make the trip 6-7 times each fall and the options are mediocre at best. As said, once you pass the Woodlands things get slim. Texas Burger in Huntsville just isn't as good as back in the day when the chain was small. Woody's in Centerville is a place we always stop to get a snack of jerky - probably the worlds best jerky. Not to be missed and they have a location on both sides of I-45. Their restaurant is only fair. We've stopped at Bubba's BBQ in Ennis and it's pretty good but be aware very Texas old school (which we like). Next best would be Collin's Street Bakery Sandwich shop in Corsicana, yes the same bunch that makes the fruit cakes. We have never been to New Zion BBQ, would like to but since we always return to Houston on Sundays we're out of luck. The food scene in Dallas is incredible so enjoy yourself when you get there!

        1. There's not much worth eating on the trip from Dallas to Houston. If you don't mind adding an hour or two to your Journey you could take I35 towards Austin. There is the Stagecoach Inn at Salado (aka "The Athens of Texas"). I haven't eaten here for many years and recent reviews have been less kind, but it used to be an experience. Further down to Austin head East for Lockhart - this small town has 3 excellent Barbecue places (way better than anything you will find in Houston) Kreusze, Smitty's and Blacks - all worth a visit. Continuing past Lockhart will get you to I10 and you take that to Houston.

          1. I'm tempted on the way back to bring a cooler with dry ice and stop in Ennis exit 253 iirc and bring back ice cream from Braums.

            1. I drive that route with some regularity and, while nothing comes to mind that I would take the trouble to visit if I weren't happening by, I do have a few regular stops that I never miss.

              Woody's in Centerville is definitely a must-stop. There are two locations, one on either side of the highway. I prefer the one on the eastern side. It started as a meat market/butcher shop, or at least I think it did. Always got some home-smoked bacon and sausage and jerky to take to my dad, and some of the jarred goods, candy, etc. You can go through the barbecue line, and eat there, but the 'cue is average, to say the best for it.

              New Zion Missionary Baptist Church & Barbecue is definitely worth a stop. While I wouldn't say the barbecue is up there with the very top tier legendary Central Texas "greats," for me, it's pretty solidly in the second tier, and way better than anything else I've been able to find on that route. Plus, I love the "church ladies" that cook there, and their pies are fabulous. I used to drive that route up to see my parents when they lived in Springfield, Mo., and I always picked up some of the pies to take north. I also just like the "story," and feel good about supporting the church. However, you do have to double-check their hours, because they're not open all the time. And definitely not on Sundays, because "Sundays are for savin' souls." It's easy to find - a straight shot from the Interstate.

              Yep, I do stop in at the Collins Street Bakery in Corsicana. The "new" location on I-45 (as opposed to the original, which opened on Collins Street in downtown Corsicana in 1865) is sparklin' bright and spankin' clean, and makes a good break for bathrooms, coffee, baked goods, candies, soups, sandwiches, and other assorted tempting treats to snack on in the car. In addition, my mom and dad really love the Pineapple Pecan Cakes, so I'd pick up a couple of them as well. In fact, now that my dad has moved to a retirement home in Atlanta, I still send him those Pineapple Pecan Cakes several times a year.

              Funny as I read this and think back. It's been about two years since Mom died and Dad moved to Atlanta, so I haven't driven north past Dallas since then. Forgot how I used to arrive with my car laden down with Texas goodies. I'm not sure what Mom and Dad looked forward to most - seeing me, or seeing what tasty treats my car held in store.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Jaymes

                Woody's started by smoking peppered pork tenderloins behind a gas station in Centerville in the early 80's, and the business has come a long way since. The pork tenderloins are a treat.

                1. re: Jaymes

                  I totally concur on the New Zion Baptist Church BBQ!! It's not the best BBQ in Texas, but it's the most interesting BBQ joint in Texas. And the BBQ is damned good.

                  Been a couple of years since I've been, but the brisket is the best choice. Side and desserts are excellent. Sausage is only so, so. Great atmosphere and good folks.