Everything is bigger in Texas, and that’s especially true when talking about the massive network of interstate highways that sprawl across the state. At pretty much any given time of the year, these roads are packed with travelers from Texas and beyond, headed to Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, or elsewhere.
In the spirit of Road Trip Week, Eater has rounded up pretty much everything you need to know about eating while traveling throughout the state. Whether making a pilgrimage to the Alamo or heading to the beaches along the Texas Gulf Coast, use this as your guide to the state’s best eats at every essential destination. Here now, where to eat:
... along the major thoroughfares between Texas’s largest cities:
- Cooper Farms — A roadside stand for a farm in Fairfield, TX, Cooper Farms is an especially good stop in late spring, when the peaches are extremely fresh. Pick up a sack (or bushel) to go, but not before browsing the ridiculous selection of bottled sodas and eating a cone of freshly made peach ice cream spiced with just the right amount of cinnamon.
- Woody’s Smokehouse — Skip the lines at Buc-ee’s and hit Woody’s for even better beef jerky, smoked sausages, and other car snacks. The barbecue is questionable, but there’s no shame in grabbing a link of sausage for the road.
- B52 Brewing — Sometimes, you screw up the trip plan and end up arriving in Houston just around the time that the city’s infamous traffic is really ramping up. If the highways are packed, hit this Conroe brewery for an IPA or stout and wait out the rush. Bonus: Dogs are also welcome.
- Lula Jane’s — Skip the touristy Magnolia Market packed with fans of HGTV’s Fixer Upper and head to this charming bakery complete with its own self-sustaining garden of veggies. If a full meal isn’t in order, Lula Jane’s cookies, pies, and other treats make for an excellent (and quick) way to knock out a sweet tooth.
- Dr Pepper Museum — Housed inside a former bottling plant built in 1906, Dr Pepper obsessives can learn pretty much all there is to know about Texas’s favorite soft drink while enjoying Dr Pepper floats at the adjacent soda fountain.
- Walburg Restaurant — Located in the sleepy town of Walburg, this old-school spot takes German fare seriously. Sip brews in the biergarten, then hit the all-you-can-eat lunch buffet for enough spaetzle to induce a serious road coma.
- Slovacek’s — When time is no issue, venturing into West to check out lesser-known Czech bakeries like Gerik’s is absolutely a good move. But when you’re just trying to get to Austin in a hurry, Slovacek’s is a quick and easy way to satisfy any road cravings for kolaches, fudge, or a Fritos chili pie.
- Health Camp — All name ironies aside, Health Camp serves up greasy burgers and thick shakes, all while offering an opportunity to walk around and stretch before the final leg of the trip. So technically, it IS a healthy option.
- Louie Mueller Barbecue — Technically not on the route, Louie Mueller’s location in Taylor is only about 20 minutes out of the way. It’s an essential stop, especially if there’s no time for a real-deal Hill Country barbecue adventure. Take on the gigantic beef rib, or just stick with the perfectly-smoked brisket.
From Curbed: The Ultimate Texas Road Trip
- Hruska’s — Kolaches and klobásníky are crucial to any road trip, and Hruska’s provides just that. Take in the plentiful array, from fruit to cream cheese to sausage and cabbage to ham and cheese. Poppy is always a good choice.
- Elgin Smokehouse — Elgin is known for its sausages, and Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse is just the place to find the hot guts. Plus, it offers up a solid breakfast menu via drive-thru, with sausages and breakfast tacos.
- Truth BBQ — Rave reviews of the Brenham barbecue spot (and recent inclusion on Texas Monthly’s best ever barbecue joints of the state) makes Truth BBQ a must-hit spot. Look out for the Texas staples, along with stellar sides, like the barbecue-stuffed baked potato.
- Royer’s Pie Haven — In these parts, Royer’s is the command center of all things pie. Try the junk berry for an overload of fruity flavors and textures.
... in Texas’ scenic Hill Country, west of Austin
- Dining in Texas Hill Country, Mapped
- 6 Must-Visit Barbecue Spots in the Hill Country
- Opie’s — The classic barbecue joint does smoked meats right, and it even offers a delectable off-menu Coca Cola cake for those sweet tooths.
- Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que — The original Cooper's is the place to go for barbecue, especially for those who like to select specific cuts and slices. It's a good bet for evening barbecue, too.
- Hays County Barbeque — The epitome of all things Texas can be found at Hays County outdoor seating, music, and excellent smoked meats.
- Where to Dine in Hill Country’s Fredericksburg
- The Perfect Hill Country Pie Road Trip, Mapped
... elsewhere in Texas
- 13 Essential Waco Restaurants
- 22 Essential Galveston Restaurants
- The 13 Hottest New Restaurants in San Antonio
- A Guide to Cajun Food and Barbecue in East Texas and Western Louisiana
- Where to Dine in Round Rock, Texas
- 9 Spots to Refuel After Tubing in Texas
- The Essential Guide to Texas Wineries
- 9 Best Spots for Tacos in the Rio Grande Valley