Restaurants on the Road

Where to dine on I-35

Time was when you could drive along I-35 from San Antonio to Dallas and find cotton fields, cow pastures, and the occasional Stuckey's between the major cities. That's hardly true anymore. The stretch of highway that runs from the Alamo City through Austin to about Georgetown is now one long metro area, with businesses, motels, outlet malls, gas stations, and chain restaurants strung out along the wide ribbon of roadway. Plenty of places offer the mediocrity and cookie-cutter convenience of the same regional or national franchise meal that's available anywhere.

Our assigned task was to take short detours off the interstate and see if it was possible to find reliable meals in locally owned restaurants in some of the small Central Texas burgs along the road. Chronicle contributing food writers Rachel Feit, MM Pack, and I checked out the small-town dining scenes from New Braunfels to Georgetown and discovered four independent restaurants to recommend. Each has its own personality and is well worth a visit if you find yourself hungry along this particular stretch of Central Texas highway. For a listing of previous Central Texas restaurants we've deemed "worth driving for," check out this week's "Second Helpings" column as well.

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