Hill Country Food and Wine Guide
Ye Kendall Inn & the Limestone Grill (48)
128 Blanco, Boerne, 830/249-2138; 800/364-2138
Lunch, 11am-2pm daily; Dinner, Tues-Sat, 5-9pm
This vintage limestone edifice overlooking Boerne's main plaza and Cibolo Creek is listed in both the state and national registry of historic landmarks. It originated as a stagecoach stop in 1859 and has opened it's 17 guest rooms to weary Hill Country travelers in one incarnation or another ever since. The current owners sold their interest in the nearby Guadalupe River Ranch Resort and jumped at the chance to purchase the Inn when it became available a few years ago. It offers the perfect spot to rest after a midweek shopping spree, to enjoy a romantic weekend getaway or hold a small business conference. Amenities include the Limestone Grill restaurant and a quaint shopping area that features gift shops, antiques, and a book store. The Inn is within walking distance of Boerne's downtown historic district, well known for it's antique shopping opportunities.
Capers on the River (49)
518 River Rd., Boerne, 830/249-9555
Mon-Fri, 5-9:30pm; Sat-Sun, 9am-2pm; 5-9:30pm
Chefs and partners Stuart Perlitz and Kelsey Sukel purchased the former K-Birds restaurant last fall and turned it into Capers on the River, a charming eatery just across the greenbelt from the tranquil Cibolo Creek. The pleasant dining rooms have textured concrete walls and wood accents, there's an upstairs dining loft, and an open kitchen. A leafy arbor to cover the front patio is currently in the planning stages. The menu at Capers is a Southwest meets the Mediterranean affair, with substantial portions and plenty of bright flavors. Prices tend to be moderate with only a couple of items over $20. The roasted artichoke stuffed with shrimp, scallops and polenta is a sure winner, as is the grilled cobb salad with Stilton, bacon, Kalamata olives and slices of grilled chicken breast. On a recent visit, we liked the tomato citrus chutney better than the overcooked red snapper with which it was paired. Owner Stuart Perlitz advised us that dinners and weekend brunches have been so successful the restaurant would cease serving lunch within a few weeks so be sure to call ahead or check the web to verify hours.
The Welfare Cafe (50)
223 Waring/Welfare Rd. (off Hwy. 46 outside Boerne), 830/537-3700
Wed-Fri, 5-9pm; Sat, 11am-10pm; Sun, 11am-7pm
The tiny Hill Country German hamlet of Welfare may have slipped into history many years ago but Gabriele McCormick's Welfare Cafe is alive and serving hearty German food in the town's abandonded General Store. McCormick is very well versed in the little ghost town's history and has named various dishes that demonstrate it's German heritage for former postmasters. Check out her menu on the Web and call to make reservations before embarking on a trek to this very rural little cafe. There are many German specialties, including a variety of schnitzels, steaks, pastas, and desserts, plus an ample roster of beers and wines. It's a real Hill Country treasure.
Arlene's Cafe (51)
426 Seventh, Comfort, 830/995-3330
Hours will vary this spring so call ahead
Comfort-area folks have been bellying up to the tables in Arlene Lightsey's restaurant in the restored yellow Victorian house for 17 years now. They come for the menu that changes daily but insist that the bill of fare always includes such signature items as her famous sawdust pie and the ethereally light yeast biscuits with molasses butter. Though she's only open to the public for lunch, Lightsey keeps busy catering special events, receptions, and dinners where the self-described "dessert-aholic" regularly wows the crowd with her sweet presentations. This is a "don't miss" restaurant when you're in the area.
Bear Moon Bakery & Cafe (52)
401 S. Main, Historical District, Boerne, 830/816-2327
Locals in this charming German town were concerned when Paula Hayward converted the downtown doughnut shop into the Bear Moon, but they were won over soon after she opened for business. These days, the busy bakery and cafe is voted to have the best coffee and pastries in town, and the $5.95 daily breakfast buffet is a ritual, especially on weekends. The pastry case is packed with decorated cakes, French and German pastries, cookies, brownies, bars, and big, beautiful homemade pies. Homemade breads range from oatmeal and Scottish harvest to rye, pumpernickel, and a nutty loaf with pistachios, pumpkin seeds, and parmesan cheese. Sandwiches are made with fresh bread, and the bountiful loaves sell out every day. Hayward's cooking is light, flavorful, and healthy, making this place a favorite among cyclists who train on Hill Country back roads.
Guadalupe River Ranch Resort (53)
695 FM 474, eight miles north of Boerne on the Guadalupe River, 830/537-4837
This fabled ranch property with its imposing flagstone mansion has been everything from a working ranch to a hunting lodge to a movie star hideaway. Years have gone by since Olivia de Havilland vacationed here between movie roles, but the site still allows folks to get away from it all -- nowadays as a resort and conference center. Guests can relax in the main house or the comfortable cabins, play sports or stroll along the banks of the cypress-lined Guadalupe River. New owners have recently spruced up the place, adding amenities and enhancing the quality of the food service. A great idea for small-to-medium-sized corporate conferences or an upscale family reunion. The back-country drive here is scenic, but keep an eye out for the wildlife; the day we visited, a deer seemed to be playing chicken with cars on the two-lane highway.
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