Huge cheeseburgers with mounds of cheddar cheese. Fried Texas quail bites. Pork and beans. Texas is known for its hearty fare, but these restaurants’ signature dishes give new meaning to stickto-your-ribs goodness. Whether you’re looking for great local restaurant ideas or need a private space to hold your venues, these Texas restaurants will make sure your guests leave full and satisfied.
B&B Butchers & Restaurant
B&B Butchers & Restaurant has opened two locations in Texas—one in Houston and one in Fort Worth. The Houston space is located in a 1920s brick building that has been awarded the Good Brick Award from Preservation Houston. The restaurant offers a variety of meats that are dry-aged in-house, from Texas and Japanese wagyu to USDA prime and Kobe beef.
Benjamin Berg, proprietor of B&B Butchers & Restaurant, says the restaurant offers a menu larger than the traditional steakhouse, with one of the most popular options on the menu being the Carpet Bagger on the Half Shell. Served on half oyster shells, the Carpet Bagger features a mind-blowing combination of thick-cut Applewood-smoked bacon, filet mignon and Cajun fried oyster with housemade blue cheese dressing and homemade hot sauce, topped with crumbled blue cheese and finished with a drizzle of housemade truffleinfused honey. Guests can order the Carpet Bagger as an appetizer, and planners can serve it as a hors d’oeuvre.
The Houston restaurant’s butcher shop, which can accommodate 20 people seated, has become one of its most popular spaces for groups. The Houston butcher shop has been so popular, in fact, that Berg made the Fort Worth butcher shop bigger to accommodate up to 45 people cocktail-style and 35 seated. The Houston restaurant’s upstairs dining room has its own bar and exposed ceilings, with windows providing views of downtown Houston. The dining room can seat up to 60 and accommodate up to 100 for cocktails, while a second-floor patio can seat up to 70 or accommodate up to 150 for cocktails.
Caracol, located in Houston, offers a culinary journey along Mexico’s Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The restaurant’s décor mixes modern and ancient pieces, including drawings emblematic of Mexican cave paintings alongside symbols of coastal dining like suspended sailcloth and gray-washed tables. Chef Hugo Ortega named the restaurant Caracol, which means “snail” in Spanish, in honor of memories making ceviche de caracol in his brother’s kitchen at a resort in Playa del Carmen.
The Arroz Negro con Mariscos is a popular dish and consists of rice infused with black bean broth topped off with shrimp, clams, mussels, squid, octopus and chorizo. Meat lovers should try the Bistec con Mole Negro, a 12-ounce grilled rib eye served with purple and yellow potato wedges, pickled jalapeno peppers, sautéed greens and mole negro.
Caracol offers multiple private event spaces, including Gusano Lounge (named for the worm found at the bottom of mezcal bottles) and Marea, a private wine room. Gusano Lounge and Marea can accommodate 50 and 16 guests, respectively. Two dining rooms can accommodate up to 75 and 50 people each, and up to 150 guests can enjoy the patio area.
Chris Williams opened Lucille’s about six years ago, naming the restaurant after his great-grandmother and renowned AfricanAmerican chef and entrepreneur, Lucille B. Smith.
Smith is credited with inventing the first instant hot roll mix in the country, and served luminaries and presidents like Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King Jr. and President Lyndon B. Johnson with her catering company. Ladybird was a frequent visitor to Smith’s home, and Smith became the first food editor of Sepia magazine.
Williams honors his great-grandmother’s legacy in Lucille’s restaurant, located in a historic home built in 1923.
Playing off the tradition of great chefs in his family, Williams drew inspiration from his father’s fried pork chops for his take on pork and beans. Williams’ creation includes a Berkshire pork shank braised for three hours and served over a three-bean ragu with Applewood bacon, potato confit and agrodolce, a sweet-and-sour reduction of the braising liquid with mustard seeds.
“That dish is a great example of our approach to cooking and what we’re trying to accomplish at the restaurant,” Williams says. “We’re tapping into food memories. You’re surprised by the flavors, but it takes you back to a special time and place.”
Lucille’s can accommodate 50 to 75 people in its upstairs private dining space that includes a private bar, built-in sound system and plentiful natural light.
Rainbow Lodge, which touts itself as “Houston’s original lodge restaurant,” is located in a 113-yearold log cabin on an acre of manicured grounds in the heart of Houston. The restaurant has served diners indulgent wild game and regional Gulf seafood for more than 40 years.
Owner Donnette Hansen notes that one of the restaurant’s signature dishes is its fried Texas quail bites, served with white cheddar grits and bourbon bacon gravy. Another popular dish, she says, is the rainbow trout with lump crab and pecan brown butter, served with crispy sweet potato curls, sautéed kale and roasted garlic.
The lodge offers a warm atmosphere for private events, with the lodge’s cozy ambiance, fireplaces, and antique hunting and fishing collectibles elevated by the restaurant’s crisp linens, wine cellar and refined touches. Rainbow Lodge has four private dining rooms that flow into each other. The rooms can accommodate between eight and 80 guests; groups of 100-200 people can buy out the restaurant. The lodge’s patio and deck are also available for private events.
Located in Houston’s Texas Medical Center, the menu of Third Coast restaurant represents the city’s diversity.
“Experimentation is at the heart of our menu that draws on the diverse flavors of Houston’s culinary melting pot, including Asian, Hispanic, Czech-German and good-old Texan influences,” says Jon Buchanan, executive chef of Third Coast. In addition to highlighting natural, sustainable and local ingredients, Buchanan smokes, ferments and cures meats in house.
A customer favorite that also highlights Houston’s Asian culinary traditions is the Gulf red snapper, served with coconut green curry, vegetable slaw garnished with micro cilantro and Thai basil, roasted cashews, black and white sesame seeds and lemongrass ginger jasmine rice.
Third Coast offers 13,500 square feet of restaurant and event space in a crescent-shaped floor plan. The space has floor-to-ceiling windows that provide views of the medical center skyline. The restaurant also offers a covered outdoor terrace with a double fireplace, a bar area and interior working spaces.
Denton Independent Hamburger
The hamburgers at Denton Independent Hamburger are so good that they may have ruined all other hamburgers for owner Mike Barnett. The restaurant is a fixture in the community of Denton, located just outside the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
“I have been a customer of this place for 40 years, having grown up in Denton,” Barnett says. “I have lived in three corners of the country, but this has always been my gold standard of hamburgers.”
Barnett says the restaurant doesn’t do anything fancy to set its hamburgers apart; it’s just doing the simple things well.
“[The burgers] are made with care consistently, the same way they have been for 40 years,” Barnett says.
However, the mound of shredded cheddar cheese may set these cheeseburgers apart. Diners also drive from Dallas just for the beans, Barnett says. He recommends diners check out the hickory burger, a cheeseburger smothered in barbecue sauce with onions and, of course, cheddar cheese. The restaurant’s burger plates come with unlimited beans and fries (guests serve themselves).