Downtown Llano

Handmade crafts, homey cafes, and cowboy couture make this Hill Country hamlet a browser’s paradise.
Downtown Llano
Sagebrush/Gridiron Gallery
Photograph by Adam Voorhes

1. Berry Street Bakery

Skip the drive-through and head to this quaint clapboard house for the most important meal of the day: a hearty but speedy breakfast of honey-sweetened granola, sausage biscuits, and Walk-Away Omelets (they travel well). Come back later for sandwiches on fresh-baked Bavarian, honey wheat, or sourdough bread, as well as specials like the chicken potpie served between two monstrous puff pastries. Diet-busting treats, like pecan pie bars, flaky turnovers, and decorated cookies and cakes, are hard to resist. 901 Berry, 325-247-1855, berrystreetbakery.com

2. The Acme CafÉ on the Square

Ordering a seafood dish miles from the Gulf Coast could be considered a risky endeavor, but it’s no gamble at this cozy lunch spot across from Llano’s historic courthouse. Owner Maurie Kay Beasley’s hand-formed, two-inch-high crab cakes, served with a zesty homemade remoulade, are as tasty as they are unexpected. And no less attention is paid to the more traditional fare: The pot roast is slow-cooked, and the chicken-fried steak is hand-breaded. 109 W. Main, 325-247-4457, theacmecafe.com

3. Colonel Crow’s Trading Post

Locals boast that Llano is “the way Texas used to be,” and it’s easy to slip back to bygone days at this multivendor shop. Historical reenactors come to stock up on Old West outfits—three-piece gunfighter suits, ladies’ walking skirts, red long johns with the necessary back flap—and replicas of 1800’s weaponry. Tourists can mark their hometowns on a map at the front before picking out souvenirs like handcrafted obsidian knives, Ugly But Good goat’s milk soap, and T-shirts dyed with red Texas dirt. 105 W. Main, 325-248-0949, colonelcrowstradingpost.com

4. Ruby Cowgirl

It’s a wonder that the pink front door isn’t encrusted with rhinestones, like so much of the merchandise inside this women’s Western boutique. Owner Knel Magnus, the wife of famous rodeo cowboy Tyler Magnus, knows you can never have too many booty-boosting Big Star jeans or sassy statement tees (“How much fun can we have before we go to prison” reads one). Visit the back room for custom baby blankets and throw pillows trimmed with leather, rope, and fringe by Sandy Sullivan. 104 E. Main, 325-248-0970, rubycowgirlonline.com/wordpress

5. Fuel Coffee House

You’ll come for the caffeine and stay to socialize at this nonprofit java joint started by a local pastor. The popular hangout serves up Aztec spice mochas (a blend of chocolate, cinnamon, espresso, and a hint of ancho chile) and attracts teens, knitting groups, and high school football enthusiasts, who stop by to watch game film on Monday evenings. Every third Thursday of the month, patrons fill the couches surrounding the half-circle stage for the Song-writers in the Round concert series. 106 E. Main, 325-247-5272

6. A Rosy Outlook

Three generations of wildly creative women have imbued this gift shop with a playful ingenuity that makes you want to buy everything in sight: Grandma Janet’s oil paintings, daughter Brenda’s gorgeous (and rightfully pricey) mosaic mirrors, and granddaughter Avalon’s purses made from the tops of cowboy boots and embellished with chains and beads. Unleash your own imagination at the DIY jewelry bar, where you can assemble a delightfully gaudy necklace with your pick of dozens of charms (seashells, Fender guitar picks, Dr Pepper bottle caps). 110 E. Main, 325-247-1903, arosyoutlook.com

7. Sagebrush/Gridiron Gallery

Artist (and former Lake Travis football coach) Jack Moss had only two conditions when he let Jean Rostron and Diane Willmann set up their home-decor boutique in his gallery: Don’t hang pink curtains and don’t block his art. The ladies’ rustic and nature-inspired accents—leopard-print pillows, vases made of recycled magazines—obligingly complement Moss’s pastoral watercolors of cowboys and Indians. Chances are you’ll see him at his workstation painting his latest piece. 112 E. Main, 325-247-3013, sagebrushllano.com

8. Whimseys

Antiques dealers and interior decorators would rather you not know about this cache of vintage loot located just north of the Llano River bridge. Loaded with the random and the bizarre (a glass head filled with dominoes, a plastic female bust covered with peacock feathers), as well as the usual flea market finds, it’s charmingly madcap though manageable: Items are arranged by color, and multiples of the same object (dinner bells, doorknobs, straw Stetsons) are grouped together. 305 Bess-emer Ave., 325-247-7909

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