Hill Country Food and Wine Guide
The Badu House Bed & Breakfast (18)
601 Bessemer, Llano
Dinner Tue-Sat, 6-10pm
This elegant turn-of-the-century brick edifice is a longtime Llano landmark, having housed a bank, private residences and several B&Bs. The current proprietor is George Rozelle, who cheerfully welcomes guests to the six antique-filled guest rooms and one suite. Rozelle says there have been several reports of ghostly activity in the old building and he's even had the presence of spirits validated by an organization that specializes in such things. From all reports, the ghosts are friendly. The Badu serves dinner to the public five nights a week.
Cooper's Barbecue (19)
604 W. Young, Llano, 915/247-5713
Sun-Fri, 11am-8pm; Sat, 11am-9pm
A Central Texas barbecue legend. Pull up outside, walk over to the pit, choose a meat, and have them hit it with the sauce mop. Inside, you'll find the traditional sides (coleslaw, potato salad, pickles, onions, light bread, iced tea, banana pudding) and a no-frills place to sit down and eat. What more could you ask for in a legend?
The Dabbs Railroad Hotel (20)
112 E. Burnet, Llano, 915/247-7905
This historic old frame building is one of two surviving railroad hotels along the old Austin & Northwestern railroad line. Over the years, the Dabbs has played host to everyone from Chisholm Trail cattle barons to Bonnie and Clyde to Austinites looking for an affordable night's lodging while enjoying the Hill Country. Proprietor Gary Smith bought the run-down hotel years ago and refurbished it just enough so that it retains a historic flavor and positively oozes funky charm. Schedule a visit to the Dabbs and you'll feast on a breakfast that includes buttermilk biscuits cooked in a cast iron skillet, peppery cream gravy, hashbrown potatoes, thick sliced tomatoes, jams & jellies, and cowboy coffee. Then sneak off down the path to the pristine swimming hole near the pink sand beaches of the sparkling Llano River or set off on a trip to hike up Enchanted Rock. Return at sunset for a backyard campfire and genuine traildrive dinner. The Dabbs is so popular among Chronicle readers and critics that it has garnered several Best of Austin mentions over the years. It's available to rent for weddings and private parties.
Eva's Holtzer House Cafe (21)
107 E. Luce, Llano, 915/247-2235
Thu-Sat, 5-9pm; Sun, 11am-2pm
Globetrotting Swiss cooking teacher Eva Broad fell in love with a Texan on a South Sea Island vacation several years ago. As a result, she's been the proprietor of a charming fine-dining establishment in downtown Llano since 1997.The restaurant is housed in a turn-of-the-century historic Llano home with a comfortable wrap-around porch. While Eva's Swiss menu reflects German, French, and Italian influences, menu specials such as Grilled Shrimp with creamy Texas Pecan Basil Pesto, Tispy Texas Quail in Bourbon Marinade, Pork Medallions in a creamy Chipotle Pepper Sauce, and Certified Black Angus Ribeye in Poivre Vert Sauce show a definite Southwestern flair.