Considered by many to be America’s culinary capital, Texas is a state rich with history, cultural diversity and mouthwatering cuisine. Today’s list is but a small sample of some of the most unique restaurants Texas has to offer, where all of the region’s most tantalizing traits collide.
Ekko’s Greek American Deli
Texas is quite the cultural melting pot, and you never know where you might find a top-notch culinary experience. Ekko’s Greek American Deli may have an unassuming appearance–tucked away in a Valero gas station just outside of Houston–but the food they serve is anything but ordinary.
From gyros to Souvlaki to mouthwatering baklava, Ekko’s blends authentic Greek fare with more classic American dishes such as hot dogs and freshly grilled hamburgers. Despite its small interior, Ekko’s is one of the top ten most ordered spots in all of Lamar Terrace.
The Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar
History buffs and foodies alike will feel right at home in the Gristmill River Restaurant and Bar: housed inside a cotton gin dating back to 1878. The Gristmill is part of the National Register of Historic Places, located in the Grune Historic District of New Braunfels, Texas. Past guests have included the likes of John Travolta, George Strait, Mary Lou Retton and Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Featuring scenic river views from its shady outdoor patio, The Gristmill serves Texan classics such as chicken-fried steak, hamburgers, barbeque ribs and strawberry shortcake, as well as fresh brews from its laid back onsite beer garden.
Austin’s Launderette is anything but washed up—this converted Laundromat has snagged a slew of awards over the years, including Food and Wine’s Restaurant of the Year in 2016, and Eater Austin’s Restaurant of the Year award in 2015.
Start your meal with some fresh-squeezed fruit juice or an energizing espresso, before sampling North-American classics such as New York strip, pan-seared salmon or a fried chicken sandwich. For dessert, try a strawberry shortcake icebox pop, or the mocha hazelnut semifreddo featuring coffee hazelnut brownies, blackberry fernet jam, and parsnip cream.
Located in the Lone Star’s capitol, Hillside Farmacy is sure to have just what the doctor ordered. Owned and operated by pharmacist Doc Young in the 1950s, the Hillside Drugstore was restored by volunteers and designated in 2019 as a Texas Historical Landmark.
Still owned by Doc Young’s family, the restaurant serves local, farm-to-table cuisine such as Texas Bavette Steak, house-made veggie burgers, and cornmeal fried chicken served with spicy mustard greens, radish, and sweet tea gastrique. The Farmacy still features its old-fashioned soda counter, as well, where guests can sample refreshing treats such as turmeric ginger fountain soda or hibiscus lemonade.
Iron Works BBQ
This family-owned and operated Texan barbeque joint has been an Austin staple since opening in 1978. Visited by the likes of Kevin Costner, Leonardo Dicaprio and Bob Dylan, the restaurant is located inside a historic Texas ironworks, and is registered as a historical site by the State Historical Commission.
Iron Works BBQ specializes in smoked meats, including mouthwatering cuts of beef rib, pulled pork, smoked turkey, and classic Southern sides such as potato salad, mac and cheese and corn on the cob.
Which Texas restaurants do you consider hidden gems? Let us know in the comments!