When restaurateur Mary Stanley moved from Austin to Brownwood a few years ago and opened The Turtle, she introduced elements of the Slow Food movement—eating in season and using locally produced meats and vegetables—to diners in the Pecan Bayou. “The snail was taken as the symbol of the Slow Food movement,” says Stanley, “so we needed another slow animal, and the turtle is a symbol of persistence and longevity.”
The Turtle continues to adapt to changing times. The restaurant, which serves elegant entrees such as basil-pesto pork loin and roasted rack of lamb, has scaled back its hours to make way for hopping business at its new wine bar, The Turtle Enoteca. Stanley prepared for this latest venture with cooking classes and wine seminars in Italy, and came back armed with authentic Roman recipes and a concept for a wine list that emphasized Texas, Italy, Spain, and Argentina.
“We serve 20 wines by the glass,” she says, “and most of the food items on the Enoteca menu cost less than $10. One of our bestsellers is our caramelized-onion and goat cheese pizza.”
Patio seating overlooks The Turtle’s herb and vegetable gardens, where Chef Thomas Vezina plucks basil, cherry tomatoes, and other ingredients. In June and July, The Turtle will host multicourse dinners featuring the wines of nearby Barking Rocks Winery and Alamosa Winery, complemented by cheeses from Dublin and produce grown at area farms, as well as made-from-scratch gelato from The Turtle Gelateria. In Brownwood, slow is the new way to go. Call 325/646-8200; www.theturtlerestaurant.