Angleton | pop. 18,640
Hometown Cafe
Catfish dredged in just the right amount of cornmeal served on tables fashioned from tire-tread-embossed sheet metal. 979-849-2809

Center Point | pop. 3,766
Vicki’s Burger Barn
Be sure to say hi to Vicki, who started off as a waitress and now signs the checks. (Alert: The Barn will be closed from November 25 through January 1.) 830-634-7669

Colmesneil | pop. 623
Burger House
Order a cheeseburger and onion rings, then grab a table in the small dining room, where you’ll find the real treat: walls covered in photos of every Colmesneil High homecoming queen, dating back to 1937. 409-837-2321

Cotulla | pop. 3,628
J.J.’s Country Store
At this curious combo of cafe and convenience store, enjoy the coconut pie with a cup of coffee beneath wagon wheel chandeliers. 830-879-3319

Cross Plains | pop. 1,112
Staghorn Cafe
Why we like the Staghorn:
a fluffy-crusted chicken-fried steak in two sizes (normal and small). Why we like Cross Plains: the annual Barbarian Festival, honoring local hero Robert E. Howard, who created Conan. 254-725-4986

Elgin | pop. 9,813
City Cafe
The pies made by Lucia Jimenez are definitely worth a stop, or even a drive. 512-281-3663

Floydada | pop. 3,152
Nielson’s Restaurant
The Rib Steak Sandwich is spectacular: thinly sliced, juicy beef; melted Swiss cheese; lettuce; sautéed mushrooms; and salad dressing (a.k.a. mayonnaise) on a bun. 806-983-3464

Hunt | pop. 708
The Hunt Store
No cheeseburger will ever taste better than one eaten on the outdoor patio at the Hunt Store after you’ve marinated in the Guadalupe for several hours on a summer’s day. 830-238-4410

Jacksboro | pop. 4,516
Nana Lou’s Kitchen
The standouts served up in the eight-table dining room of this plain yellow house are the sides: thick mashed potatoes, fortifying turnip greens, pinto beans swimming with hunks of bacon. 940-567-2203

Junction | pop. 2,576
Mama Kay’s Sunshine Cafe and Bakery
The warm yellow walls at this cozy neighborhood locale are lined with rooster figurines, and a sign boasts that 95 percent of the food is prepared right there. 325-446-2497

Kilgore | pop. 12,024
Circle Cafe
Depending on the time of the school year, you might catch a post-meal practice or performance of the world-famous Kilgore Rangerettes. 903-984-3928

Marble Falls | pop. 5,453
Blue Bonnet Cafe
The crusts aren’t made from scratch at this 79-year-old eatery, but the mile-high Conehead-shaped meringue pies have well-deserved renown. 830-693-2344

Midlothian | pop. 11,783
Caroline’s Country Cafe
Yes, there is a Caroline—not to mention a museum’s worth of framed pictures and tchotchkes on the walls and blackberry cobbler on the menu. 972-723-3881

Overton | pop. 2,358
Granny’s Home Cooking
The proprietor is a raven-haired, fifty-three-year-old, hardworking, motorcycle riding, self-proclaimed “hot-rod granny” who is as famous for her bread pudding as she is for her hand-battered chicken-fried steak. 903-834-7001

Placedo | pop. 780
Gonzalez Community Store and Restaurant
Friendly bilingual waitresses serve good solid food that will carry you through the afternoon. 361-897-1922

Rocksprings | pop. 1,285
Dixie’s Drive-In
If you’re cruising the “three sisters” (the scenic pretzel of Ranch-to-Market Roads 335, 336, and 337), Dixie’s pie menu is worth a screeching halt. Sit under an oak tree at a picnic table while yard hens scratch around your feet. 830-683-2128

Sealy | pop. 5,248
Tony’s Restaurant
Checkerboard-tile floors, a homey vibe that transcends the big, noisy space, chicken livers on the menu, and a multi-story pie case. 979-885-4140

Strawn | pop. 739
Mary’s Cafe
If you fry it, they will come. The biggest draw, on a menu that stretches from oysters to enchiladas, is a mammoth chicken-fried steak, cooked up old-school-style on a griddle, with larrupin’ pan gravy. 254-672-5741

Utopia | pop. 241
Hick’s House
The wood-frame bungalow looks like an antiques shop, but the vibe is puredee hometown cafe. Best chicken and dumplings this side of the Red River. 830-966-2345