Day Trips: Po Po Restaurant, Welfare

Historic Texas roadhouse offers meals worth driving for

photos by Gerald E. McLeod

Po Po Restaurant on the edge of Welfare near Boerne is one of a dying breed of Texas roadhouses. Before traffic moved to the interstate highway, the cafe in the hills was a popular stop on the San Antonio-El Paso road.

Like most highway diners, Po Po was built in stages. It began as Nelson Hall in 1929. Moonshine was sold in the parking lot, and hamburgers at the dance hall cost a nickel.

A succession of owners added to the joint as it evolved from honky-tonk to family restaurant.

Local rancher and owner Ned Houston, supposedly a descendant of Sam Houston, changed the name to Po Po after being awed by a visit to the Mexican volcano Popocatépetl. In 1950, Luther and Marie Burgon took over the cafe under the towering oak. How they found the time to travel is a mystery, but they amassed a sizable collection of commemorative plates. A few souvenir plates soon morphed into china from around the world being donated to the collection. To date, more than 2,500 plates adorn the walls.

The current owner, Sam Bournias, takes pride in offering meals worth making the drive. The portions are big enough to share, but too good to relinquish even one bite. The house specialty is fried chicken, and the steaks are still hefty and cooked to order.

Po Po Restaurant is just north of I-10 on FM 289 at the Welfare exit. Reservations are recommended at 830/537-4194. The menu is posted at

1,270th in a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 40312, South Austin, TX 78704.

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Po Po Restaurant, Welfare, Texas, Texas roadhouses

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