Austin's a fantastic place and all, but sometimes, for various reasons (friends, relatives, court dates... ), you have to leave and drive to other places in Texas. You'll inevitably get hungry along the way, so when you're getting out of Austin, get yourself to these prime roadside stops.
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Czech Stop (address and info) West The jalapeño sausage with cheese kolache is a must. Also go for the peach and the "Very Berry". While you’re there, throw in a pulled pork and maybe a "Hot Chubbie". Oh, and the turnovers and pecan pie. And maybe a few more kolaches for the road, possibly across the highway at Slovacek’s.
Robertson’s Hams (address and info) Salado Why get your sugar-cured and smoked hams mailed to you when you can drive to Salado and pick up them up in person? After all, the billboards will beckon you for miles with their promises of loaded ham sandwiches and at least six varieties of beef jerky -- ensuring that you have the meat sweats by mile 144.
Collin Street Bakery (address and info) Waco It's surprising that ANYONE liked fruitcake enough to make it famous, but lo and behold, this bakery has been renowned for its DeLuxe Fruitcakes for over 115 years. Monaco’s Princess Caroline buys them every year, as does Vanna White. Or if dry & heavy isn’t your thing, try Texas pecan cake, cherry icebox cookies, and pumpkin cake.
Texas Roadhouse (address and info) Waco Yeah, this is a chain, and not even the one owned by Willie Nelson, but the steaks are good and the bread comes with honey butter. Plus they have a booth dedicated to the blue-eyed stranger and there is "The Blossom" fried onion on the menu.
Austin to Houston
Royers Round Top Café (address and info) Round Top Chicken-fried steak? Check. Grilled rack of lamb? Check. Pecan, junkberry, chocolate chip pie? Oh yes indeed. A destination all its own, the kitschy café makes the tiny detour off 290 worth it.
Budare Arepa Express (address and info) Katy Within the hellhole of suburbia that is Katy, find authentic Venezuelan food like arepas, empanadas, and cachapas. If you’ve never had an arepa or cachapa before, be prepared for a corn-tastic, sandwich-like treat with cheese and shredded meat. Pabellón, here we come!
Hruska’s (address and info) Ellinger Ellinger doesn’t get half the hype that West gets for its kolaches, but you’ll still find some killer combinations (strawberry & cream cheese, jalapeño-sausage & cheese) at this stop, as well as juicy burgers, and more than a few gifts for the road. Everyone needs some wind chimes and a sock monkey wearing a Longhorn shirt.
Buc-ee's (address and info) Giddings What would a road trip be without the carnival of delights that is this trumped-up truck stop? Give in to deliciousness like trail mix, sesame sticks, and the "Holy Beaver Nuggets": a sweet-salty caramel treat whose name keeps away the faint of heart.
Hays County Barbeque (address and info) San Marcos On your way to the land of Tex-Mex, stop over for some of Texas’ more-hyped cuisine: barbecue. This joint recently earned a spot on Texas Monthly’s list of the top 50 places in the state, and for good reason. It’s still a bit hard to find, but considering the story ends in fatty brisket, ribs, and sausage, it’s worth the hunt.
St. Pita’s (address and info) San Marcos Stop by the Hitch trailer park to chow down on hearty pita sandwiches like the classic falafel and new-school Holy Avocado (fried avocado with jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, Sriracha, and house-made ranch), plus specials like this jumbo lump crab pita.
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