Pearl Street forms the southern boundary of Granbury’s historic town square, which surrounds the Second Empire-style Hood County courthouse. The courthouse’s prominent clock tower keeps shoppers and diners punctual as they explore the square’s 30 stores and more than a dozen eateries.
Located one block west of the square, a 1933 Sinclair gas station has been reborn as the café Pearl Street Station, which now welcomes customers with a wide porch outfitted with picnic tables and ceiling fans. The café’s menu focuses on barbecue and Cajun cuisine, with daily specials like smoked brisket, crawfish étouffée, and blackened catfish.
Another iteration of regional cuisine comes in the form of Ketzler’s Schnitzel Haus & Biergarten, also on Pearl Street. Owned by German natives, the restaurant offers traditional fare like schnitzel, bratwurst, and potato pancakes, which you can enjoy inside or outside on the cozy patio with a trickling rock fountain.
Or, savor a bit of Pearl Street’s high-end dining at Eighteen Ninety Grille and Lounge. Try the Texas Trilogy—a plate featuring free-range chicken, bacon-wrapped quail, and tenderloin. For a spicy spin on comfort food, savor shrimp and jalapeño cheddar grits topped with a white wine cream sauce. The restaurant’s Marketplace offers specialty spices, oils, and vinegars available for purchase.
The portion of historic Route 66 that runs through Amarillo still thrives with culinary and creative culture in the form of Sixth Avenue. Located on the southwest side of Amarillo, between Georgia Street and Western Street, this stretch of Sixth Avenue is lined with buildings dating to the 1920s, many of them bearing a mix of Art Deco and Pueblo architectural styles that locals call Pueblo Deco.
GoldenLight Cafe, established in 1946, still draws travelers on the open road. The low-slung brick building’s cantina hosts a variety of live music performers, including regional and national acts. Classic burgers and fries nod to the cafe’s original menu, while a spicy bowl of Route 66 Chili, served with crackers and topped with chopped onions and cheddar cheese, remains a perennial favorite.
Wild Bill’s Fill’n Station, located in a former gas station on the Mother Road, evokes old-school charm thanks to vintage neon signs, a jukebox, and umbrella-shaded patio tables. In addition to burgers, steaks, and burritos, the restaurant offers an extensive weekend breakfast menu starring plump omelettes, migas, and chicken-fried steak with eggs.
For lighter fare, locals rave about the fish tacos at Braceros Mexican Bar & Grill. Owned by Mexican natives, the restaurant proudly proclaims “No Tex-Mex” and features traditional Mexican specialties such as grilled cactus and seafood soup with crab, fish, and shrimp. The restaurant also features the largest selection of tequila in Amarillo, making the top-shelf margaritas here, which are served in salt-rimmed terracotta cups, very popular.
Fulton Beach Road hugs the coast of Aransas Bay, where winter brings white pelicans to gather on rocks along the side of the road. Charlotte Plummer’s Seafare Restaurant has been a staple along this stretch of road since the mid-1970s. The restaurant serves a bounty of fresh seafood, including crowd-worthy seafood platters, and offers a BYOF (bring-your-own fish) option. Overlooking the bay, the restaurant’s decks give diners views of shrimp and oyster boats bringing in fresh catch.
A couple of blocks away on the waterfront, Moondog Seaside Eatery features a spacious deck and patio overlooking the bay and hosts live music each weekend. While enjoying the view, you can satisfy your hunger on traditional surf-and-turf fare, as well as po’ boys, burgers, and smoked brisket.
And if the po’ boys create a hankering for more Cajun fare, try the Boiling Pot for Cajun-spiced seafood. Leave formality at the door; customers are given bibs to wear and are encouraged to use their bare hands to dig into seafood piled on sheets of butcher paper.
Located in Fort Worth’s trendy Near Southside district, just south of downtown, Magnolia Avenue’s early 20th-Century architecture projects a youthful vibe, hosting a multicultural array of up-and-coming restaurants. Amidst the warm elegance of Lili’s Bistro, diners enjoy live jazz and savor the restaurant’s “unpretentious global cuisine” ranging from tilapia tacos to crawfish étouffée-topped chicken.
The “global cuisine” label suits most restaurants along Magnolia Avenue, which offer a taste of the world within the reach of a few bike-friendly blocks. Shinjuku Station serves fresh Japanese fare served in small-plate portions. The restaurant’s name and design are nods to the world’s busiest train stop, Shinjuku Station in Tokyo, which logs more than 2 million passengers a day. Dinner specialties include baby octopus and rib-eye sashimi seared on a river stone. At the other end of Magnolia, King Tut Egyptian Restaurant offers a tantalizing array of exotic fare, including vegetarian selections like falafel along with gyros and sirloin moussaka for meat-loving patrons.
Located in the Southtown district just south of downtown San Antonio, South Alamo Street brims with creative culture. In 1986, the Blue Star Arts Complex, housed in then-vacant warehouse buildings on South Alamo, opened across the San Antonio River from the King William Historic District. Blue Star quickly became an anchor for San Antonio’s arts community and now houses the Blue Star Contemporary art museum, apartments, restaurants, a theater, and art galleries. To accompany its hearty pub menu, Blue Star Brewing Company makes a rotating menu of beers, including sour beers and a barley wine, and also hosts weekly jazz concerts.
On South Alamo across the river from Blue Star, the restaurant Frank entices diners to “Come Have a Hot Dog!” Frank features artisan sausages made of meats such as antelope, rabbit, and pork. Accents like cranberry compote, blueberry-habanero-espresso BBQ sauce, and popcorn crawfish make it clear that these aren’t your average ballpark dogs. A sausage board includes a trio of German sausages along with sauerkraut, braised red cabbage, mustard, and pretzel sticks. Vegan franks, portobello cheesesteaks, a hummus sampler trio, and gluten-free buns ensure that there’s a little something for everyone in your party.
A few blocks north, find Rosario’s, a color-splashed eatery that puts a contemporary twist on traditional Mexican dishes, resulting in combinations like shrimp nachos and quinoa-stuffed chiles rellenos. For dessert, select from creative options like cajeta crepes, sweet tamales, and sweet-cream dipped churros.