Recipes from Historic Texas: A Restaurant Guide and Cookbook Review


Original Cookbook Review by

There is something about eating at an old restaurant, steeped in character.

Linda and Steve Bauer, the authors of Recipes from Historic Texas: A Restaurant Guide and Cookbook must have logged many miles while gathering their material. They have created a book with at least three facets: History, Food and Texas travel. And wouldn't we all have liked doing the research!

Their book profiles many Texas establishments that found new life as eateries after their previous enterprises came to an end. The owners of each business have shared their stories and recipes for their award-winning cuisine, and that's all the evidence needed to show how history plus food equals a dining adventure of immense proportions in the Lone Star State.

The Bauers, no doubt, happily ate their way from the Panhandle to the Gulf Coast, from Big Bend to the Piney Woods of East Texas. The featured restaurants range from the chic and cosmopolitan to the down-home and folksy (see complete listing below) with a corresponding range of gastronomic delights.

History buffs will appreciate the background information and anecdotes associated with each establishment. Travelers looking for a destination will likewise chalk up a myriad of possibilities. And, of course, those of us interested in food will make both mental and physical notes of the recipes provided.

I found plenty of recipes that really captured my attention, like the Brazilian Chicken from the Rogers Hotel in Waxahachie, the Blackberry Cobbler from The Salt Lick in Driftwood, and the Original Menger Chicken Salad from the Menger Hotel in San Antonio.

The following recipe for Chili Pie from the Neon Spur in Wichita Falls is a good example of a dish I will make in my own kitchen, as well as order the next time I find myself in Wichita Falls during the winter months, the only time it is on the menu.

Neon Spur Chili Pie

  • 4 pounds chili meat, chopped
  • 3-1/2 ounces chili powder
  • 1 ounce paprika
  • 1 ounce cumin
  • 1/2 ounce black pepper
  • 1 ounce chicken bouillon
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 16 ounces tomato sauce
  • 16 ounces water
  • 8 servings corn chips
  • Grated cheese and onion, for garnish

Brown course-chopped chili meat, and then add all dry seasonings. Sauté for about ten minutes. Then stir in remaining liquid ingredients. Heat to slow simmer stirring often for about one hour or until meat is tender. Serve over a large bowl of corn chips. Add grated cheese and onion, if desired.

This is a complete listing of the restaurants covered in the book.

Gulf Coast
  • Hotel Galvez, Galveston
  • The Lancaster Hotel, Houston
  • Mark*s American Cuisine, Houston
  • The Pig Stand, Beaumont
  • Treebeards, Houston
  • Treebeards Cathedral, Houston
  • The Tremont House, Galveston
  • The Warwick, Houston
Piney Woods
  • Belle-Jim Hotel, Jasper
  • The Carson House Inn & Grille and Mrs. B's Cottage, Pittsburg
  • Especially for You, Kaufman
  • The Homestead, Huntsville
  • Mansion on the Hill, Tyler
  • O'Dells, Winona
  • Woodbine Hotel, Madisonville
  • Wunsche Brothers Caf & Saloon, Spring
Hill Country
  • Antlers Hotel, Kingsland
  • Carmelo's, Austin
  • The Driskill Hotel, Austin
  • Green Pastures Restaurant, Austin
  • Gristmill River Restaurant, New Braunfels
  • Guero's, Austin
  • Gumbo's, Austin
  • Hill Top Caf, Fredericksburg
  • Huisache Grill, New Braunfels
  • The Inter-Continental Stephen F. Austin Hotel, Austin
  • Joe's Jefferson Street Caf, Kerrville
  • The Old Pecan Street Caf, Austin
  • The Salt Lick, Driftwood
  • Scholz Garten, Austin
  • Stagecoach Inn, Salado
  • Walburg Restaurant, Walburg
  • Wildfire Restaurant, Georgetown
Prairies and Lakes
  • A Scoop in Time, Grapevine
  • Back Door Caf, Smithville
  • The Brazos Belle, Burton
  • The Burton Caf, Burton
  • Caf Eccell, College Station
  • Hotel Adolphus, Dallas
  • Inn on the River, Glen Rose
  • Landhaus Ramsey, Round Top
  • Liendo Restaurant, Hempstead
  • Main Street Bistro & Wine Bar, La Grange
  • The Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas
  • The Melrose Hotel, Dallas
  • The Merry Heart Tearoom, Granbury
  • Messina Hof Winery & Resort, Bryan
  • Newport's Seafood, Dallas
  • The Northwood Inn, Waco
  • The Nutshell Eatery & Bakery, Granbury
  • The Nutt House Restaurant, Granbury
  • Radisson Plaza Hotel, Fort Worth
  • Ranchman's Caf, Ponder
  • Rogers Hotel, Waxahachie
  • Two Grannies, Glen Rose
South Texas Plains
  • La Mansion del Rio Hotel, San Antonio
  • La Posada Hotel/Suites, Laredo
  • Little Rhein Steak House, San Antonio
  • The Menger Hotel, San Antonio
  • The Yacht Club Hotel and Restaurant, Port Isabel
Panhandle Plains
  • Miss Hattie's Caf & Saloon, San Angelo
  • Neon Spur, Wichita Falls
Big Bend Country
  • The Barn Door Steakhouse, Odessa
  • The Gage Hotel, Marathon
  • The Holland Hotel, Alpine
  • Hotel Limpia, Fort Davis

As comprehensive as Recipes from Historic Texas is, the Bauers are working on a second edition, and they accept suggestions for entries. They have done a fine job with this first volume, and I am certain their second will be equally enjoyable. Linda and Steve Bauer reside in The Woodlands, Texas, near Houston, and their email address is

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Recipes from Historic Texas: A Restaurant Guide and Cookbook
290 pages
Taylor Publishing 2003-12-01
Purchase Book on Amazon.Com