Main Street, Salado

Veer off I-35 to explore this lively stretch of boutiques, bistros, and gift shops galore.
Main Street, Salado
The Range Restaurant.
Photograph by Adam Voorhes

1. Gregory’s of Salado

Smitten men whose girlfriends have been singing along not so subtly to Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” make a beeline to this Salado institution. Open since 1977, Gregory’s has a wide range of engagement bling—traditional Tacori solitaires, modern micro-pavé settings from Claude Thibaudeau—but even the unattached will fall for the designer pieces, like the Bellarri South Sea pearl necklace with detachable brooch. Ditto for the store’s other works of art: Nambé crystal vases, Wood That Works kinetic wall sculptures, and highly stylized wooden kaleidoscopes from Paul Knox. 401 S. Main, 254-947-5703, gregorysofsalado.com

2. Strawberry Patch

Giving is never better than receiving when gourmet food is involved. But you can treat yourself and everyone on your shopping list at this epicurean pantry: canned Dumas Walker pickled jalapeños for Mom, mango butter for yourself, Amici olive oil (from the Tuscan olive farm of a former Texas A&M dean) for your boss, Texas Champagne Pepper Sauce for yourself. Sample to your stomach’s content at the tasting bar and take a whiff of the more than one hundred flavored coffees, including the famous Salado Blend, a decadent fusion of chocolate fudge, Irish cream, hazelnut, and amaretto. 171 S. Main, 254-947-9955, strpatch.com

3. Classics on Main

You can’t swing a purse without hitting a one-of-a-kind item made by a Texan at this whimsical, art-minded shop. Not that you should try, lest you knock over an antique wood-and-metal animal-shaped weather vane crafted by Fort Worth artist Jim Clark. Or disturb one of the vibrant neon-on-black paintings of Spanish missions by Cleburne’s David Carter. Or upend the bowl of brightly colored wooden spinning tops hand-made by Calvert’s James Poppell, though it would make for a beautiful accident. Salado Square No. 6 on Main, 254-947-3277, classicsonmain.com

4. The Range Restaurant

What happens when a New Yorker meets a Texan in culinary school and they decide to get married and open a restaurant? Voilà, this quaint, thirty-table connubial venture in the historic Barton House. Executive chef Dave Hermann (the Yankee) and his wife, Katie (the Temple native), have created a New American dinner menu, served Tuesdays through Saturdays, that draws on his old-school European influences and her mastery of seafood. The crawfish-stuffed quail, Tuscan herb ribeyes, and smoked salmon and corn pancakes with chive crème fraîche rarely make it into doggie bags. 101 N. Main, 254-947-3828, therangerestaurant.com

5. Charlotte’s of Salado

Charlotte Douglass’s claim to fame is that she was Salado’s first mayor, in 2000, but now she’s busy serving another group of concerned constituents: the discerning women who come into her home-decor shop looking to update their digs. Known for her custom silk floral arrangements and wreaths, Douglass encourages customers to try edgier statement pieces (like an oversized black-and-white-striped frame or peacock feather place mats) but knows that when it comes to redecorating, diplomacy is key. “It’s all about making wives and husbands happy,” she says. No. 8 Rock Creek Dr., 254-947-0240, charlottesofsalado.com

6. Splendors of Salado

A best-seller at this kitchenware boutique is the $1.99 pickle pincher, but good luck leaving with a single purchase. There are ingenious gadgets aplenty (Palm Zesters, silicone egg poachers), aprons both functional and fun (one is made entirely of faux fur), earth-friendly Caldrea cleaners, and cabinets packed with glassware. And that’s just inside. The front yard is filled with statuary, pottery, and plants, while the back patio has a gallery of custom wrought-iron fireplace screens. No. 4 Rock Creek Dr., 254-947-3630, splendorsofsalado.com

7. Adelea’s on Main

This charming bistro, run by husband and wife Kelly and Jennifer Angell, both graduates of Austin’s Texas Culinary Academy, is meant to resemble a seaside retreat in Florida (rocking chairs on the all-white porch, elegantly mismatched china). But the food is so good you’ll forget where you are entirely. The tarragon chicken salad is a delightful surprise, with smoked almonds and cranberries, and the dark-chocolate mousse, served in a pecan-praline lace cookie, is the definition of instant gratification. 302 N. Main, 254-947-0018, adeleas.com

8. Salado Wine Seller

Bring along your favorite teetotaler so you can partake without hesitation when oenophile June Ritterbusch starts pouring obscure Texas vinos. Offering wines from vineyards across the state, this inviting sanctuary (set back from the road, it has a wraparound porch) sells by the taste ($3 for five), the glass, and the bottle. Try the ’Dillo Dally, a red table wine, or the Sweet Tweet, a fruity white made from Muscat Canelli grapes especially for the Salado shop. 841 N. Main, 254-947-8011, saladowinery.com

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