Pink Tractor Farms market stand
Visit the market stand at Pink Tractor Farms for flowers, eggs, vegetables and more. Photograph by Nick Simonite
Parks & Recs

The Best of Blanco

Where to eat, drink, and play once you venture outside the park.

Blanco State Park is 104 acres of fishing, swimming, and camping bliss. But at some point you’re going to want to put some real clothes on and take a trip into town, which is a mere two blocks away.


Josie’s Kitchen is short on ambience but long on excellent sandwiches and dinner specials that include roasted salmon glazed with herb butter . . . Beautiful oak trees, a cool old cistern, and free-ranging chickens are your introduction to Chess Club Cafewhich serves up breakfast and lunch staples like eggs Benedict and chicken-fried steak . . . Blanco Bowling Club Cafe is a seventy-year-old institution where you do some ninepin bowling, a German style found only in Texas (the pins are set by hand), and eat the kind of food found in the kind of place where you order a taco and they don’t ask you what kind . . . Cheerful Redbud Cafe feels like the heart of the town; try the chicken salad or meat loaf sandwich.

pouring beer at Real Ale Brewing Co.
Take a tour at Real Ale Brewing Co. Photograph by Nick Simonite
a sandwich at Redbud Cafe
Grab a sandwich at Redbud Cafe. Photograph by Nick Simonite


Old Ironhorse Saloon offers a self-serve popcorn machine, pool tables, and shuffleboard . . . Sit at the friendly bar and enjoy a local brew or glass of wine at Gillen’s, which also sells goodies like olive oil, pastas, and imported chocolates . . .  Real Ale Brewing Co. is a must-go for a tour, a sampling of some of its fine beers, and a visit with Hans, a German shorthaired pointer and the namesake of Hans’ Pils . . . At Andalusia Whiskey Co., you can play cards or dominoes, enjoy charcuterie, and sip on the signature product, straight or in a cocktail.


For flowers, eggs, vegetables, and more, visit market stands Pink Tractor Farms (where the chickens outside congregate under the AC unit and are not, under any circumstances, to be fed ice cream or cookies) and Arnosky Family Farm (which employs an honor system if no one is around and humbly requests that patrons “not use lottery tickets as ‘payment’ ”). Make plenty of time for Cranberry’s Antiques, on the square, a wonderland of trinkets and treasures.

An old soda dispensing machine at Pink Tractor Farms
Resident chickens at Pink Tractor Farms greet visitors.Photograph by Nick Simonite


Magazine Latest