Cope’s Coney Island, Canyon
At Cope’s, the lunch counter with swivel stools will make you nostalgic for the fifties. All-American eats include chicken-fried steak, one-third-pound burgers, barbecue, grilled steaks, and, of course, hot dogs. On Saturdays, chow down on fried catfish and shrimp. 2201 Fourth Avenue, 806-655-1184. Lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday.
Silver K Cafe, Johnson City
Even though the Silver K sits in the middle of a picturesque converted lumberyard, it has an urbane feel. Lunches tend toward salads and sandwiches. In the evening, expect the likes of crab cakes, pasta with poached salmon in lemon cream sauce, and steaks. When available, the homemade coconut ice cream should not be resisted. Beer and wine. 209 E. Main ( U.S. 290), 830-868-2911. Lunch daily, dinner Thursday through Saturday.
Named for the mythic West Texas ranch in Giant, Reata is cowboy to its core. In that spirit, go with the steaks and burgers (the beef is supplied by a local ranch). Other dishes—like the cream-cheese-stuffed chiles rellenos, jalapeño-cilantro soup, and apple crisp with cajeta—have a Mexican mien. Full bar with $5 “club membership.” 203 N. Fifth, 432-837-9232. Lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday.
Hayter House, Nacogdoches
You can go home again, to this rambling, overgrown bungalow with its wood floors and black and white photographs on the wall. The folks from Jeffrey’s, in Austin, consulted on the menu, so expect homey fare with classy touches, to wit: fried oysters with honey-cilantro mayo, jalapeño- baked potato soup, fried quail with cheddar grits, and pan-seared trout with tomato-basil sauce. Beer and wine (with $1 annual club membership). 1411 North, 936-569-1411. Lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday, Sunday brunch.