Day Trips: Manske Rolls, San Marcos

The unique twist on the cinnamon roll is a San Marcos original


Photos by Gerald E. McLeod

Manske Rolls in San Marcos are legendary. There is nothing exactly like them. The saucer-sized breakfast pastry is good any time of day with bacon sprinkles, ice cream on the side, or a Hershey bar melted across the top like a Salvador Dalí painting.

Similar in flavor and shape to a cinnamon roll, the Manske Roll has more of a maple flavor and the bread is denser.


The local version began sometime in the late Forties when Roland and Ruth Manske opened a diner in a retail space shaped like a bowling lane. The eatery between Texas State University and the Hays County Historic Courthouse is now the oldest restaurant in San Marcos.

In order to reduce waste, Roland fashioned leftover dough from the evening's dinner rolls into his unique pastry for the breakfast crowd. The Manske Roll became the most popular item on the menu, with orders coming in throughout the day.

Legend has it that President Lyndon Johnson had the Manskes ship the rolls to the White House. George Strait is said to be a frequent customer, along with generations of college students.


When Gil Rainosek bought the diner in 1966, the only menu item transferred to Gil's Broiler was the Manske Roll. The rolls come warm straight from the microwave or in 4-packs ready to take home and reheat.

Gil's Broiler & the Manske Roll Bakery is at 328 N. LBJ Dr. The current owner, Ruben Becerra, also sells the rolls at the Dixie Cream donut shop at 201 S. LBJ Dr. The only change to the sticky buns that Becerra made is offering the creative assortment toppings that have only added to the indulgent roll's popularity.


1,388th in a series. Follow “Day Trips & Beyond,” a weekly travel blog, at austinchronicle.com/daily/travel.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Manske Rolls, breakfast pastries, Roland Manske, Ruth Manske, Gil's Broiler, Dixie Cream Donuts, Ruben Becerra

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