Hill Country Food and Wine Guide
Chantilly Lace Cafe, Tea Room & Gift Shop (22)
408 N. Hwy. 281, Johnson City, 830/868-7450
Tue-Wed, 11am-5pm; Thu 11am-6pm; Fri-Sat, 11am-8pm
The newest business attracting tourists in Johnson City is the Dunnaway family's charming gift shop and tea room. After perusing the gift items, check out the shelves laden with their signature line of jams, jellies, and condiments and move on to the candy case stocked with chocolates and other delights from Texas confectioners. Don't miss Sylvia Dunnaway's lovely assortment of handcrafted soaps, scented with fresh herbs and essential oils. Once you've shopped till you drop, relax in the cafe and order some of the finest tea room food we've discovered in the entire Hill Country area. From the lunch menu we can recommend the Twin Tower, fresh tomato halves filled with delightful versions of tuna and chicken salads, paired with fresh fruit and a small banana bread sandwich. We're also partial to the Pulled Pork Bar-B-Que sandwich, served with the house barbecue sauce on a warm, homemade bun with an excellent side of savory potato salad. Don't forget to save room for Sylvia's Bread Pudding, served warm with rum sauce, it's divine. Considering that everything we sampled here was fresh, tasty, and made from scratch, it won't be long before we head back to Chantilly Lace some weekend night to try out their grilled salmon dinners.
The Too Damn Friendly Bar (23)
106 N. Nugent, Johnson City, 830/868-2347
Monday-Friday, 3pm-midnight; Saturday, noon-midnight; Sunday, 2pm-midnight
We probably would never have discovered this popular area hangout if our friends in a band called Zydeco Blanco didn't have a semi-regular gig on the back patio. Linda Wiles' place is the quintessential small town Texas beer joint/honky tonk, with pool tables, neon signs, and an antique bar supported by colorful local characters. There is often live music on the patio on weekends and Linda's put together an ambitious TexAmericana singer-songwriter showcase series on Tuesday nights that's already featured Steve Fromholz. Call ahead for the music lineup.
Hill Country Cupboard Restaurant, Bakery, & Cafe (24)
Hwy. 281 & Hwy. 290, Johnson City, 830/868-4625
Friendly country joint open every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. All those truckers and locals can't be wrong.
Johnson City Soda Company (25)
300 E. Main, Johnson City
This charming little spot boasts a genuine soda fountain where you can get real malts, fountain sodas, and phosphates, in addition to breakfast and lunch. Extended summer hours.