Hill Country Food and Wine Guide
The Bierschwale Estate Bed & Breakfast (28)
110 N. Bowie, Fredericksburg, 830/990-9970; 877/990-9971
Owners Lynn Wilburn and Jim Foutch have taken one of Fredericksburg's historic old homesteads and turned it into a warm and welcoming destination, compete with authentic period furnishings and all the modern conveniences travelers would expect in the finest hotels. The main house, a stately two-story limestone Victorian built in 1888 one block off the city's main thoroughfare, serves as the owner's residence. Guests are housed in restored cottages on the lovingly landscaped grounds: the Granary, the estate's former grain storage barn that's been converted to a charming cottage, and Alfred's Cabin, an 1870s log structure that was moved to the property and renovated in 1994. Each cottage offers private outdoor hot tubs, country kitchenettes and antique furnishings. Wilburn and Foutch have recently purchased the adjoining property just south of the estate which includes three buildings, among them one of Fredericksburg's oldest homes. In the months to come, each of the old buildings will become a guest cottage, as well. The best kept secret at the Bierschwale Estate is the hired couple who run the house and maintain the grounds. During our visit, they prepared some of the best homestyle Mexican food we've ever eaten anywhere, but you have to be a guest at the Estate to get a taste.
The Hilltop Cafe (29)
10661 U.S. Hwy. 87 N., 10.5 miles west of Fredericksburg, 830/997-8922
A genuine honky-tonk on a landlocked stretch of German-influenced Hill Country highway is the last place you'd expect to find Greek/Cajun cuisine, right? Unless, of course, you're already familiar with Brenda and Johnny Nicholas' renowned Hilltop Cafe between Fredericksburg and Mason. The Greek food and Asleep at the Wheel memorabilia are the results of Johnny's background, and the spicy Cajun food stylings are Brenda's contribution. It makes for great ambience, even greater food, and killer live music when the proprietor and his friends take to the bandstand.
Fredericksburg Herb Farm (30)
402 Whitney, Fredericksburg,
Wed-Fri, 9:30am-5:30pm; Sun, noon-4pm
Bill and Sylvia Varney's herb and flower farm on several beautifully landscaped acres includes a lovely tea room and retail store in a historic 1858 rock house, the Poet's Haus candle shop, the Quiet Haus day spa, and the Herb House Bed and Breakfast. Their books, candles, fragrances, herbal body and skin products, vinegars, condiments, and mustards are all available by mail order. However, don't deny yourself a stroll in the secret garden and the opportunity to relax in the sun-drenched tea room. Enjoy Chicken and Herb Pot Pie ($4.95) in a homemade bread bowl with an elegant frosted glass of herb lemonade infused with lemon verbena, lemon balm, and mint, garnished with one perfect, tiny yellow and purple viola.
Der Kuchen Laden (The Kitchen Shop) (31)
258 E. Main, Fredericksburg, 830/997-4937
Mon-Sat, 10am-5:30pm; Sun, noon-4pm
Proprietors Jerry Hughes and Penny Perry-Hughes have moved their attractive shop to much larger quarters in the main floor of the historic Keidel Memorial Hospital building. Now it's possible for "the little chef in all of us" to browse many rooms filled with the finest contemporary kitchen tools, cookware, bakeware, linens, and ceramics available today. There's a cookbook nook and a cookie cutter corner. They've also added a tea room that sells a good cup of espresso to enjoy as you shop.
The Peach Tree Gift Gallery & Tea Room (32)
210 S. Adams, Fredericksburg, 830/997-9527
The Peach Tree has been our most consistent favorite dining spot in Fredericksburg since Hector and Cynthia Pedregon opened it in 1984. Though the menu changes daily, patrons can count on finding light, flavorful dishes expertly prepared and beautifully served. Save room for the excellent desserts, including the decadent Coffee Ice Cream Pie ($3.75) with hot fudge, praline, or fresh strawberry sauce. Many of the recipes can be found in their self-published Peach Tree Tea Room Cookbook and Peach Tree Family Cookbook, for sale in the store.
Navajo Grill & The Granite Room (33)
209 E. Main, Fredericksburg, 830/990-8289
Tue-Thu, 11:30am-2pm, 5:30-9pm; Fri-Sat, 11:30am-2pm, 5:30-10pm
Sunday brunch, 10:30am-2pm
Cajun/Creole cuisine meets the Southwest on the menu here. Occassional live music in the Granite Room. New chef's in the kitchen.
Lincoln Street Wine Bar (34)
111 S. Lincoln, Fredericksburg, 830/997-8463
Sun-Mon, 1-9pm; Tue-Thu, 10am-9pm; Fri-Sat, 10am-late
(all times approximate)
Chronicle wine writer Wes Marshall named Lincoln Street as one of the top 10 places in Central Texas to "catch the passion" about wine and it's easy to see why. With hundreds of wines by the glass, a tasty selection of imported olives, cheeses, and breads to nosh on and two extremely knowledgeable wine geeks on the premises, how could you go wrong? Austin oenophiles will be pleased to get reacquainted with former Austin sommelier Len White, one of the wine geeks in residence at Lincoln Street.
Fredericksburg Brewing Company (35)
245 E. Main, Fredericksburg, 830/997-1646
Mon-Thu, 11:30am-9pm; Fri-Sat, 11:30am-10pm; Sun 11:30am-7pm
Established in 1994, this microbrewery/restaurant/ bed & breakfast offers a three-in-one respite after a long day of wildflower photography or antique shopping. Before considering a meal, enjoy a sampler of the brewmaster's art ($4), a moderate portion of each of the brews available that day . The large menu here offers something for everyone: German specialties such as Schinken Schnitzel or a Sausage Sampler; Tex-Mex standbys like nachos and queso; pasta and pizzas; even a hearty bowl of venison chili. After you've eaten your fill and had all the beer you can hold, repair upstairs to one of the 11 guest rooms to bed down for the night. Each room has a distinctive style, some with period antiques, and all are without TVs to enhance the sense of a historic getaway.
249 E. Main, Fredericksburg, 830/990-0498
Rather Sweet Bakery & Cafe (36)
Mon-Tue, 8am-2pm; Thu-Fri, 8am-5pm; Sat, 9am-5pm; Sun, 9am-3pm
Former Houston and Austin pastry queen Rebecca Rather relocated her little bakery to Fredericksburg late last year, taking over the space vacated by Marie Claire Quittelier's Marie Cuisine. The attractive new bakery is being embraced by locals and tourists alike. The pleasant little shop is housed in a limestone building set back from the Main Street shopping area, facing a delightful little courtyard. The pastry case is packed with muffins, cookies, croissants, cinnamon rolls, scones, and brownies, plus huge portions of dramatic desserts such as a creamy Key Lime Pie and a chocolate Tuxedo Cake. The lunch menu offers a selection of delicious sandwiches made on fresh homemade bread.
The Rathskeller (37)
260 E. Main, Fredericksburg, 830/990-5858
Sun-Mon, 9am-3pm, 5pm-9pm; Tue-Thu, 9am-3pm;
Located in the stone basement of the historic Keidel Memorial Hospital, the Rathskeller is the newest restaurant venture from the team at the Oak House. The bustling new cafe offers private meeting rooms as well as upstairs courtyard dining and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The breakfast menu covers all ethnic bases with German Crepes, French Toast, Eggs Benedict, Hill Country Hash, Huevos Rancheros, and Eggs Italian. The bistro-style lunch and dinner offerings are just as eclectic with very affordable prices.
The Epicurean Shop (38)
315 E. Main, Fredericksburg,
Mon-Sat, 10am-6pm; Sun, noon-6pm
The shelves are loaded with gleaming jars of gourmet condiments from Fischer and Wieser's das Peach Haus. Try the mouth-watering jams made from local fruit, wine jellies created with Hill Country vintages, and tongue-tingling hot salsas. Stock up on their international award-winning Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce, which is great on all cuts of pork or plain cream cheese and crackers.
Ernie's Mediterranean Grill (39)
423 E. Main, Fredericksburg,
Daily, 11:30am-2pm, 5:30-9pm
Chef/owner Ernie Briggs and his wife Annie relocated to this booming Hill Country burg just over two years ago to open this small restaurant with a pleasant courtyard. Fans of Austin's Louie's 106 may remember Briggs from his tenure there. The menu in Briggs' new venture features both Italian and French items, plenty of meat options, daily raviolis, and vegetarian dishes based on legumes and grains. After working in the pastry departments at both the Omni and Four Seasons hotels, fresh breads and homemade desserts are Annie Briggs' contribution to this upscale mom-and-pop operation.
The Nest Restaurant (40)
607 S. Washington, Fredericksburg, 830/990-8383 Mon-Thu, open 5:30pm
Culinary Institute of America-trained chef John Wilkinson and his wife Monica returned to his native Texas several years ago to open this charming dinner house and have built a very loyal clientele. The old frame cottage is charmingly landscaped and the high-ceilinged dining rooms very comfortable. The chef's most recent menu features such mouthwatering items as rack of lamb with a pecan pesto and stone-ground mustard demi-glace ($24.50), Black Angus Tenderloin Bordelaise ($25) with turnip mashers, and yellowfin tuna with an arugula caper vinaigrette and soft herb polenta ($19). Dinner only, reservations suggested.
The Oak House (41)
755 S. Washington, Fredericksburg, 830/997-6223
Tue-Thu, 5-9pm; Fri-Sat, 5-10pm; Sun, 5-9pm
Chef Scott Boone has moved on but we're still partial to this quaint limestone house with its lovely gardens and haute Hill Country menu.
Homestead Healthy Foods (42)
1313 W. Live Oak, Fredericksburg, 888/861-5670
Mon-Thu, 9am-5pm; Fri, 9am-6pm; Sat, 10am-2pm
Certified organic ranchers Richard and Peggy Sechrist have opened this health-food store in Fredericksburg to sell their certified organic beef and poultry as well as a full line of organic produce. They feature local organic produce whenever possible and also stock their shelves with familiar Texas organic products such as those from Austin's own Boggy Creek Farm.