- The Cupboard Cafe - - home cookin'at its finest
By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor
The packed parking lot on Thursday, August 29, told the tale. As one of our hungry party of four noted, "Well, the best kept secret in Texas is apparently out."
Our quartet had anticipated lunching at the Cupboard Café, located at The Farm Country Club, just off FM 2828. Because three special parties had just been seated, we decided to defer our much-anticipated midday meal until a later date. However, that doesn't mean our readers shouldn't run, not walk, to this culinary gem in the Texas Hill Country.
Housed in the property's original 1920s residence, this restaurant features, among other amenities, some of the best country-style home cooking around - bar none.
The Cupboard Café and an on-site catering business are under the purview of Anthony Richards and Diane Laenger, ably assisted by super-duper waitress, Shelly Skaggs.
Homer and Kathy Stevens, owners of The Farm, decided to open an on-site restaurant, but were reluctant to take on the added responsibility. After being approached by Richards and Laenger about taking over the food businesses, a deal was quickly struck and became a win-win situation for all concerned. Actually, it's a win-win-win situation because hungry patrons have also benefitted from the concord.
Stepping into the original house literally transports patron back in time. In many cases, that phrase could be considered hackneyed, but not here. As soon as an earlier party sat down for lunch, I recalled meals shared at my Grandmother Heck's house in Barrackville, West Virginia.
Everything, including the food about to be served, recalled an earlier, now long gone time, from the lace curtains at the windows and white beadboard wainscoting to the old photos and family memorabilia featured predominately throughout the rambling structure that includes a trio of relatively separate dining areas.
The house had been moved to its present location from the banks of Hicks Creek. "It was dismantled and moved up here in 1920 and rebuilt on this site," Homer Stevens said. "At one time, it was two stories." He went on to say that the only things of the family's left at Hicks Creek are the nine pecan trees his grandmother planted.
Before it became a charming restaurant, the house was used simply for storage. During the renovation, Stevens and his contractors would meet in the morning to discuss what was on tap for the day's construction. "We never really had blueprints or even a design," Stevens said. Regardless, the result, with its wide concrete wraparound porch and cleverly incorporated plows and iron wheel rims, turned out perfectly - and has become a perfect complement to the fare served inside.
A limited number of items are offered on the lunch and dinner menu, usually sandwiches and two daily specials, but all are delicious.
During my first luncheon at Cupboard Cafe, one of our party enjoyed an absolutely superb New Orleans-style muffaletta sandwich. Another sandwich choice was turkey with goat cheese and cranberries. I opted for a sublime hamburger steak over rice with brown gravy and sweet corn.
That's some good eatin'.
Also, patrons are advised to save room for one - or more, if you're so inclined - of the homemade desserts, which might include blackberry cobbler with crumbly topping, chewy scratch brownie covered with ice cream and a perfectly sublime ice cream pie.
A quartet of ladies from Medina, who clearly enjoyed their noon meals at the Cupboard Café, noted, "Everything was great and we plan to come back many, many times."
The Friday night special is an absolutely wonderful melt-in-your-mouth and so-tender-you-can-cut-it-with-a-fork prime rib cooked over a mesquite wood fire, as well as boiled shrimp. Saturday's feature is barbecue all day, and Sunday brings a groaning board buffet.
Built-in clientele for the homey restaurant include residents of the RV park on the Stevens Ranch. One man, who has lived at the park for 12 years, visits every day the Cupboard Café is open for his evening meal. "I love it here. Everything is excellent and they give good value for your dollar. Since this restaurant opened, I've saved a lot of grocery money!" he said happily.
Don't miss this dining experience featuring home cooking that you wished your grandmother had made!
Hours for the Cupboard Café are 11 am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 8 pm, Thursday; 11 am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 9 pm, Friday; 11 am to 9 pm, Saturday; and 11 am to 3 pm, Sunday.
Upcoming special events include Thanksgiving dinner on from 11 am until 3 pm, Thursday, Nov. 28, and a "Christmas like it Used to Be" Holiday Party from 6 pm until 11 pm, Saturday, Dec. 7. For details, call the Cupboard Café at 830-589-3100.
Pictured: Country Café proprietors, Anthony Richards and Diane Laenger, take pride in serving the best home cooking around - and no one has disputed that claim yet!
This sign says it all - the Cupboard Café offers country dining at its best. Next on tap is the Thanksgiving Dinner set for 11 am until 3 pm, Thursday, Nov. 28.
Photos by Judith Pannebaker
Waitress extraordinaire Shelly Skaggs balances plates, menus and "don't-forget-to-leave-room-for-our made-from-scratch desserts" admonitions.
Photos by Judith Pannebaker
According to a diner, this New Orleans-style muffaletta was as good as any she tasted in NOLA. Sorry, but I was too busy eating it to snap a photo of my luncheon selection.