When Travis Dickey opened the first Dickey's Barbecue Pit in Dallas in 1941, he kept his menu small and simple, only cooking up beef brisket, pit hams, and barbecue beans, which he sold alongside potato chips, beer, bottled milk, and sodas. Dickey smoked all of his meat in-house, a practice that put his eatery on the map and one that his sons, Roland and T.D. Dickey, still rely on today.
The menu has expanded since Travis?s time behind the grill, offering plates and sandwiches that brim with nine kinds of barbecued meats, including spicy cheddar sausages, pork ribs, polish sausage, and Texas-style beef brisket that?s chopped to order. Several types of baked potatoes are piled high with meats and cheeses, which diners can wash down with a gallon of tea or Dickey's signature 32-ounce big yellow cup of soda. Staying true to the same spirit of hospitality, cooks always include a buttery roll; a homestyle side such as jalape?o beans and fried okra; dill pickles; and free ice cream with every meat plate.
Situated on the shores of placid Belton Lake, Dead Fish Grill stands tall over the water, encouraging diners to enjoy the beautiful view from either the covered outdoor patio or from inside, where large windows span from floor to ceiling. Here, the chefs send out plates of peel-and-eat shrimp, their specialty creole-whiskey steak, and fried oysters piled into baskets with hush puppies and cole slaw during dinner. Frequent live music enlivens the space on Friday and Saturday nights, and shows are always free.
Red River Steakhouse looks like it jumped straight off the reels of a Western film: its raw-wood façade opens to a rustic interior with paintings of rolling grasslands, red barns, and horse-drawn carriages. On the tables, cowboy boots serve as vases for bright sunflowers or footwear for men with no name. In the kitchen, chefs bread and cook chicken-fried steak on flat-top grills, season racks of ribs with signature rubs, and on weekends, slow smoke pork ribs and prime ribs. The catering side of the operation offers similar fare, including aged Black Angus rib eyes, sirloin kebabs, and prime rib. With confidence in their cuisine, the caterers offer a 120 percent satisfaction guarantee or money back plus a discount on the next order.
Firehouse Subs extinguishes appetites with overstuffed sandwiches of high-quality meats and cheese piled high on toasted rolls. Sink your teeth or someone else's into specialty steamed subs (starting at $5.49), such as the Hook & Ladder, with ham, turkey, and monterey-jack cheese, or the New York Steamer, with melted provolone served over corned beef brisket and pastrami. The tasty Engineer offers a brain-boosting bounty of smoked turkey breast crammed with melted swiss and sautéed mushrooms and served Fully Involved (loaded with mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, and onion, and a dill spear on the side for endless rounds of condiment jousting). Further information and pricing can be viewed here, though prices may vary. Firehouse Subs also supports the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, founded by firemen and focused on education, equipment, and training of emergency-service teams.
With more than 90 buffet dishes including 30–35 hot entrees and more than 10 varieties of sushi, it’s no surprise that Buffet Palace's Austin location has been voted best buffet 12 times by Austin Chronicle readers. The similarly well-stocked Killeen location looks like a grounded spaceship from the outside, complete with a cylindrical metal cage, a Saturn-style ring, and two alien-like statues.
At each location, a modern 350-seat dining room vaunts sleek countertops and high ceilings as well as a buffet so long visiting Lilliputians regularly land planes on it. Items range from Korean-style salads and Japanese sushi to more than 30 primarily Chinese hot dishes such as sesame chicken and pan-fried dumplings.
In addition to these made-from-scratch items, a chef cooks Asian pancakes and dumplings. Before departure, diners can also stock a plate full of the buffet’s housemade desserts, which include cakes, cookies, and fruit so fresh it often gets smacked by older, wiser side dishes.
As visitors walk toward Petty's BBQ's storefront, they're surrounded in the aromas of slow-cooking meats and classic southern-style barbecue. At the origin of these scents stands the restaurant's grill master, who wields a pair of tongues and watchfully controls the outdoor smoker’s flame using only his mind. The experienced cook works culinary magic on beef, pork, and chicken, bathing the meat in custom blends of sauces.
Inside the eatery's casual dining space, servers load the slow-smoked meats onto plates or follow architectural blueprints to construct them into sandwiches. They also serve up classic sides such as corn bread and green beans.