Minimal to the Max “The only time we ever had to close early was when rain was blowing horizontally into the kitchen,” says Naylene Dillingham-Stolzer. That will happen when your kitchen is a concrete slab with a roof, a few propane burners, two refrigerators, and some prep tables. But scant amenities haven’t stopped Dillingham-Stolzer, the chef-owner of Mac and Ernie’s Roadside Eatery in downtown Tarpley, from turning out some of the best casual cooking in the Hill Country. In fact, she and assistant Kelly Bradshaw thrive under conditions that would have other chefs ripping off their aprons and stalking out. Heat? They drink ice water—about a gallon and a half a day per person in the summer. Flies? They keep the food in the fridge or on the grill and scrub down everything at night. “It’s a beautiful thing to be able to hose down your kitchen,” Dillingham-Stolzer says. Her short menu pleases locals and visiting city slickers alike. At dinner she always does steaks and catfish, plus a special like quail in ancho-honey basting sauce or chicken breast with poblano cream. The cabrito burger, served at lunch, is a legend in its own time. FM 470, Tarpley (830-562-3250). Open Wednesday 11-2, Friday and Saturday 11-9. No credit cards.