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need lots of hill country recommendations

  • h

Am heading to the Hill Country for five days and need good places to eat in and around Llano, Brady, Junction, Mason, Marble Falls, Fredericksburg, Stonewall, Kerrville, Comfort, Boerne, Blanco and Wimberley.

Went to August Es in F'burg last year and thought it showed promise. The past few visits to Hilltop were disappointing. Sure would appreciate any good ideas!

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  1. s
    Steve in Austin

    Llano:

    Cooper's BBQ is the ALL you need to know about grub in this town. Some of the best BBQ in Texas. Mesquite smoked goat, pork chops and chicken are best bets. They also serve sirloin steak, brisket, beef and pork ribs, pork loin and sausage. All meats come with free beans, onions, and jalapenos. There will be a line around Noon, but it moves fast.

    This is one of the "Top Ten Things That Every Texan Needs To Do At Least Once."

    6 Replies
    1. re: Steve in Austin

      I've loved Cooper's for 20 years. Somebody said the Cooper's in Mason is better than in Llano.

      Just wondered if there was anything else to eat in Llano.

      1. re: Halley P
        s
        Steve in Austin

        There's a Dairy Queen and two or three below average BBQ places. That's why there are long lines at Cooper's. I'll have to try the one in Mason, IF I ever have a reason to drive out that way.

        1. re: Steve in Austin

          I've been to Cooper's in Mason once (Llano many times). On that day, at least, the Mason one was not very impressive.

          Jim

          1. re: Steve in Austin

            Mason's one of the prettiest towns in the Hill Country, imo. Quiet, yeah, but really charming. A few cool places to stay for some R&R. Nice coffee shop/bookstore/giftshop on the square. They really need a cool little wine bar like in F-burg, but I don't have the 100K I'd probably need to get it up and running. From there it's an easy cruise west to the South Llano River...

          2. re: Halley P

            Been to both the Coopers in Mason and Llano...I'd go back to Llano but never to Mason.

            1. re: Halley P

              Dunno about Llano, but it IS all there is to eat in Mason, unless Mrs. Santos is still slapping the tortillas on her thighs at her little cafe, that is.
              Thank God, I was delivered of Mason in late 1999. And haven't been back even to sign real estate papers.

          3. Llano-Cooper's BBQ
            Marble Falls-Cafe 909
            Fredburg-The Auslander
            Kerrville-Rails
            Beorne-Dodging Duck
            Blanco-Hard Scrabble

            3 Replies
            1. re: Frank M

              Tell me more about Dodging Duck in Boerne - what is it, what do they serve?

              Heard Hard Scrabble closed in Blanco.

              1. re: Halley P

                The Dodging Duck is a small brewpub with an eclectic menu:
                Great beer, local wine selection, and great food.
                Too Bad about Hard Scrabble-best fried chicken around.

                Link: http://www.dodgingduck.com

              2. re: Frank M

                Also in Blanco just northeast of the original county courthouse is the Blanco Bowling Club. They have good food, and some of it is absolutely excellent - onion rings, meatloaf, and the Friday all you can eat fish special is terrific. Very friendly folks as well.

              3. Are you going through Johnson City? I had the most awesome parmesan crusted meatloaf sandwich at Silver K Cafe inside the old Lumberyard Building in downtown Johnson City when I drove through as part of a hill country roadtrip this past summer.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Donna

                  Good to know. Thanks so much.

                2. Just a couple of miles outside Wimberley is the Blair House Inn. They serve dinners on Saturday evenings as well as winery dinners on certain Saturdays--EXCELLENT food, far beyond the usual BBQ and chicken fried steak (not to say that they don't have their place as well, but for the sake of variety, check out a sample menu--it's also a lovely place to stay)!

                  Link: http://www.blairhouseinn.com/saturday...

                  1. You've probably already tried the Bluebonnet Cafe in Marble Falls (on 181 about 35 miles northwest of Austin)? I have relatives who for years have stopped there on the drive down from Dallas. It's down-home Texas comfort food: CFS, biscuits and gravy, and homemade pies. It gets a lot of tourists these days as well as locals.

                    More or less on the road from Blanco to Lost Maples State Park is the Lost Maples Cafe, actually located on Main Street in Utopia, Texas. This place serves great food in a very low-key, friendly environment. Their CFS is the best I've had in the state. It doesn't taste pre-fabricated, like some do. Instead it's like a much better version of what I'd make at home--the meat is really fresh and hand-breaded; the cream gravy is divine. I just wish it came with mashed potatoes instead of french fries (or baked potato, if you're there during dinner hours). Their hamburgers are also really good. And they've got excellent homemade pies. I especially like the coconut cream, the lemon meringue, and the buttermilk.

                    Continuing with the pie theme, you could check out the Wimberley Pie Company at 13619 Ranch Road 12.

                    MPH

                    1. I've heard a lot about Patton's on Main in Marble Falls... a lot of good things. Here's a link to their website. If you decide to go, let us know your thoughts, okay?

                      Link: http://www.pattonsonmain.com/

                      1. I had never had a lobster sandwich (Oh lordy!) until I ate lunch at BonTerra, 1440 N. US 87, Fredericksburg. (Just west of the post office) Forget that it's $12.95...just do it! Lunch Tuesday thru Saturday, dinner Friday and Saturday.

                        1. In Marble Falls try Jammin House; it's Caribbean (sp) but really more eclectic than just that. Great sides and main dishes. Very reasonably priced for lunch ($7-$10 w/two sides), closed Tues and Wed. One of the better steaks around.

                          Pattons on Main is very good, great steak and seafood and on warm weedend outdoor band and dancing.

                          I realize the following may be sacrilege to many of you but WHY is everyone raving about Bluebonnet Cafe? Sure there pie is good, but for a place that "specializes" in breakfast they have no clue how to do hashbrowns, are incapable of keeping your coffee cup topped off and use non dairy "creamer". I realize that's no biggie to many but gosh, IHOP can gett all three of those right, usually.

                          An opinion from a MF resident.

                          notfatfrank

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: notfatfrank
                            s
                            Steve in Austin

                            I agree about Blue Bonnet Cafe being possibly THE most overhyped below average "diner" type restaurant in Texas. Can't comment on the breakfasts, but can say the last lunch we had there was VERY below average.

                            I had the CFS, which was a pretty tough and chewy, as well as being a SMALL piece of cube steak with bland gravy. And the sides? All were served in the small "school cafeteria" type bowls that held about 4 bites at most. And they actually put my tossed salad in that little thing. Are you kidding me?

                            Five small chunks of lettuce and a little slice of tomato does not count as a salad. I guarantee it would take 4 of those things to equal the $0.99 side salad at Wendys or Jack in the Box.

                            Bottom line, BBC is small on portions, very average in quality and overpriced.

                            1. re: Steve in Austin

                              I was actually going to take my girl out there tonight - she's been wanting to have dessert out there. On the basis of what I've been hearing, we've decided not to go - it isn't worth the drive. Instead, we are going to T&S seafood, then down to the Driskill for 1886 Chocolate cake. That's what she wants!

                              1. re: rudeboy
                                s
                                Steve in Austin

                                If you stick with their pie, you'll probably be fine. Just make sure they are open when you go. They are NOT open past about 2pm on Sundays.

                            2. re: notfatfrank

                              I think my relatives like the pie so much that they don't bother with breakfast. And for some people, the service at a diner is inconsequential.

                              Part of the appeal may be the fact that they always do it. Eating there becomes more about nostalgia than a love of the food. When I was a kid my parents--like thousands of others driving on I-10 between Houston and points west--used to insist on stopping at the now-defunct Grumpy's in Flatonia. It was the same kind of overrated diner. My folks wanted us to remember the tradition, though, so they ignored the "suggestion" from the backseat that we'd rather get BBQ and sweets from the restaurant/gas station across the street from Grumpy's. I stopped at that BBQ stop a few months ago, and I still liked the sausage wrap and the sweets. I hope it manages to stay in business despite the shiny new gas station/faux "general store"/McDonald's that moved in on the side where Grumpy's used to be.

                              Of course, that could just be nostalgia speaking.

                              I appreciate your feedback on better places to try in Marble Falls. I've never made a special trip out there just for pie at Bluebonnet. Maybe I will now that you've given me some new ideas.

                              Best,
                              MPH

                              1. re: MPH

                                I don't think I've seen it mentioned yet, so I'll add Inman's Kitchen as a worthwhile barbecue stop in Marble Falls. The menu is limited to brisket and turkey sausage. The latter is interesting and pretty good. And the couple of times I've had their brisket (fatty, of course), it's been quite good.

                                Good luck (and report back)!

                                Scott

                                1. re: Scott

                                  Actually, Inman's Kitchen is located in Llano, up the hill from Cooper's BBQ. And while everyone drives in from out of town to go to Coopers, the locals will tell you that Inman's is better.

                                  1. re: dlynne16

                                    Surprise, surprise! There's actually a very good locals pizza joint on the town square in Llano called Stonewalls. My wife and I found it one Saturday on a holiday weekend when the line at Coopers was around the block.

                                2. re: MPH
                                  s
                                  simply_victoria

                                  OMG Grumpy's. We always had to stop at Grumpy's and the food was awful. I think my parents just liked the idea of eating at a run down truck stop.

                                3. re: notfatfrank

                                  In Marble Falls, Jammin' House is closed. There is a new lunch spot across the street though, Noon Spoon Cafe. A small place that has lovely salads and sandwiches. If you are going to spend the money go to Cafe 909 (www.cafe909.com) rather than Patton's. Mark Schmidt (little known treasure in MF) owner/chef @ 909 is a James Beard Foundation invitee. In F'burg the Navajo Grill is a good choice. If you don't want to go all the way to Llano for BBQ try Opie's in Spicewood. Good sides as well as delicious Ribeyes on Fri and Sat (I think) go early as the run out.
                                  Cheers!

                                4. If you go a little bit past Llano (E on 29) to Buchanan Dam (BUCK-AN-AN), you can eat at Tamale King. Imo it is pretty good tex mex. The Queso Flameado is yummy. The "Dam Fajitas" are too.

                                  In Marble Falls you may want to check out Bella Sera near the 1431/281 intersection. They have some pretty tasty italian food and the staff is really nice.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: atxchunkymonkey

                                    In Blanco, there is a bakery called the Dutch Apple. Hubby adores their apple pie and I am fond of the apple praline cake. Last time I was there, the couple in front of me said that they had been served that cake at a dinner the night before. It was so good, they aked the hostess where it was from and drove to Blanco to buy one.

                                  2. Cafe 909 in Marble Falls in amazing. Casual room but upscale food.

                                    For casual dining in Marble Falls, Jammin' House has really good Caribbean food.

                                    In Fredericksburg, the Fredericksburg Herb Farm is good and has beautiful gardens to wander around in.

                                    I'd also make time to visit the Becker Winery near Fredericksburg. Hill Country has something of a "wine trail" now, but Becker is by far the best. They produce a number of award-winning wines.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: dalaimama

                                      I second the trip to Becker. We had a great time there and the wine was delicious!

                                    2. In Fredericksburg, the Fredericksburg Brewery has good burgers and nachos, but I would recommend the Auslander, Der Lindenbaum, or Altdorf Biergarten for a nice and different restaurant experience.
                                      Lincoln Street is a wine bar, that also sells different cheese and cigars.
                                      Wildseed Farms has a little cafe now, I think, but I haven't tried it.
                                      My dad just went through Kerrivlle, and stopped in Medina. He said they grow apples there, and he tried apple ice cream and actually loved it.
                                      Hope this helps.

                                      1. Peach Tree in Fredericksburg for Sunday lunch was a delight. Deliciously prepared food and a country store to accompany.

                                        Navajo Grill on Main is also very well-done. Good for evening leisure dining - Southwest flare with a warm atmosphere.

                                        1. If you have not gone yet, I sugest the Welfare Cafe. I grew up in the area, and this is my fav summer eating! It is down backroads between Comfort and Boerne. Really cool old house with a georgous patio. I love the Chicken Fredericksburg, beaucse it is the perfect combination of sweet and spicy form the sautéed with peaches, jalapenos and onions with a nice crunch finish with the crubled pecans. Also in Boerne is Cypress Grill on main street. Awsome relaxed upscale dinning. For great sandwiches in Boerne, Check out Bumdoodlers at the end of main. Across the street is a hole in the wall mexian food all the locals eat at. Mauges Cafe!

                                          http://www.welfaretexas.com/cafe.html

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: hbranecky

                                            I agree with Frank M that Rails in Kerrville is about the only place to eat half way serious food. Interesting building with out door dining as well. For more casual I like the catfish as Lakeview Inn, and Buzzie's ( is that right?) BBQ got a very high rating from Texas Monthly. For Mexican I suggest going out to Jalisco Taqiuria right on Goat Creek.

                                            1. re: singlemalt

                                              Singlemalt, Give River's Edge Tuscan Grille a try! Nice views and, in my opinion, every bit as good as Rails!

                                            2. re: hbranecky

                                              am I the only one mortified at the thought of eating at a place called Bumdoodlers?