The 30 Essential Texas Restaurants: Surprising Shut-Outs

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Haven't had a chance to peruse this week's feature yet? Catch up on our list of the 30 essential Texas restaurants and then meet us back here. Synchronize Swatches!

There have been plenty of questions asked by readers confounded by how some of their favorite Texas restaurants could have been left off a list that's supposedly "seminal" and "essential" and all those other fun words that arbitrarily determine something's importance in our lives. And we've answered some of those questions so far.

See also: - The 30 Essential Texas Restaurants: What Happened to West, South and East Texas? - The 30 Essential Texas Restaurants: Near Misses (a.k.a. the Dan Marino Restaurants)

But that doesn't mean we don't have a few questions of our own. Like where's the beef?

Namely, why didn't any burger joints make the top 30 list? Although among the 21 of us we managed to cover most of the Texas food groups -- barbecue, steaks, Tex-Mex, Japanese farmhouse cuisine, chicken fried steak -- we didn't manage to come to a consensus on a burger joint.

That's not to say that burger joints were submitted: I voted for East Texas Burger Company in Mineola, for example. Leslie Brenner of the Dallas Morning News noted Square Burger on her list, while fellow Dallas food critic Scott Reitz at the Observer gave a nod to Goodfriend Beer Garden & Burger. Bud Kennedy of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Hanna Raskin of the Seattle Weekly both went full-tilt Texan and voted for Whataburger. But not much was mentioned beyond that.

Equally surprising was the shut-out of City Market in Luling, which is arguably as important as places such as Kreutz Market, Smitty's and Louie Mueller -- and even Snow's, which was on the almost-made-it list. City Market received only two votes, the same as places such as Collin Street Bakery, Royer's Round Top Cafe, The Zodiac Room (at the Neiman Marcus in Dallas) and Hotel Blessing Coffee Shop -- all of which were surprisingly low-ranked as well.

Even more shocking were the restaurants that didn't merit a single vote at all: Kerbey Lane in Austin; The Grist Mill in New Braunfels; The Inn at Dos Brisas in Independence; Johnny Cace's in Longview; or the Texas Chili Parlor in Austin.

Which restaurants were you most surprised to see miss the list?

Follow Eating Our Words on Facebook and on Twitter @EatingOurWords

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.