A man in a white cowboy hat takes a large bite out of a fruitcake in front of a sign reading Collin Street Bakery

© Todd White Stills and Motion

Corsicana boasts 25 blocks of historical structures, but you’ll fly past town on Interstate 45 and miss it all if you’re not careful. It would be a shame to skip the home of the world’s best-selling fruitcake, most delicious canned chili, and old-time entertainment.

Navarro College

Thanks to this college, Corsicana is known around the world for its national-champion cheerleading squad. Stop in to see filming locations from the Netflix docu-series Cheer and maybe even some of its cast. Don’t miss the Pearce Museum filled with engaging stories and artifacts from the Civil War as well as a display of the mysterious “Malakoff Stone Heads” excavated nearby. Researchers say these relics might be the key to discovering when humans arrived in Texas.


Across the Street Diner

This restaurant started as the Hashop’s Drug Store in 1905. On the corner outside, a young man sold the world’s first bowl of Wolf Brand Chili. Today, Greek chef Andreas Kotsifos carries on the tradition of serving delicious food with a side of nostalgia. The menu has all the diner classics, including burgers and chicken salad. I recommend starting with a bowl of chili and then moving to the “Hashop’s Beef” sandwich, made exactly like it was 100 years ago with roast pulled beef, mayo, lettuce, and tomato. Save room for a chocolate malt from the old soda fountain.

Collin Street Bakery

Fruitcake can be a polarizing dessert, but this 126-year-old business strives to change the public’s perception of the timeless dessert. Collin Street Bakery produces and ships 1 million fruitcakes across the globe every year. Their original recipe uses all natural ingredients and glacéed fruit from their own farms in Costa Rica. Stop into the downtown location for a sample or to grab a coffee and cookies from the bakery. You’ll never think of fruitcake the same way again.


Pioneer Village

Step back in time to the 1830s and walk through the history of Corsicana. This village comprises over a dozen structures, including a log cabin and a vintage general store that date to pioneer days. One building contains a museum dedicated to Corsicana’s own Lefty Frizzell, one of the most popular country singers of the 1950s.


Food Belly

If you’re looking for a detour from typical Texas flavors, take a gastronomic trip to India at this restaurant. Two Indian brothers started Food Belly after learning to cook at fine-dining establishments on the West Coast. The brothers travel to Dallas to purchase their spices, which flavor dishes like lamb korma and palak paneer. Try the tikka masala pizza for a delicious Indian-Italian mashup.


So whether you follow my footsteps or forge your own path, I hope to see you on the road.

Chet Garner is the host of The Daytripper® travel show on PBS.
To view the Corsicana episode, visit thedaytripper.com.
Follow along on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @chettripper.

From the December 2022 issue

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