From the hand-painted signs to the wooden crates and bushel baskets, Star Produce is an old-fashioned farm stand so picture-perfect it could serve as a postcard designed to lure visitors to North Texas. The owners collect fresh fruits and veggies from farmers throughout the area. Though the offerings change depending on the season, customers might stumble upon baskets of juicy grape tomatoes and strawberries and boxes of whole watermelons, yellow squash, and green beans. Occasionally, there are also prepared foods and sweet spreads such as peach butter and honey?also sourced locally after negotiating treaties with local bear populations.
In 1969, Colonel Eure opened the first Mr. Gatti's Pizza in Austin. The small pizza shop—which received its moniker from his wife’s maiden name—focused on handcrafting pies using real cheese, yeast-risen dough, and a signature tangy sauce. Today, more than 40 years later, the Mr. Gatti’s Pizza has expanded into 140+ locations across 13 states. But despite the brand’s growth, its mission to make quality eats remains the same.
At one of Mr. Gatti’s appetizing outposts, patrons can build-their-own pie with fresh toppings, or select favorite pizzas such as the bacon double cheeseburger loaded with smoked provolone, beef, and bacon. Sides including four-cheese breadsticks and spicy chicken wings round out plates, and dessert pizzas topped with apples and streusel offer a sweet end to a savory meal. The restaurants also provide hot and cold buffet bars, allowing guests to sample every item on the menu without having to sneak into the kitchen.
Palio’s Pizza Café may boast multiple locations, but the cuisine is unique to each kitchen. The restaurant’s chefs commit to serving specialty pizzas on handmade dough, crafted from high-protein, red-bran wheat. They top this crust with all-natural marinara and pizza sauces, real mozzarella cheese, and farm-fresh produce. The blending of fine ingredients produces some classic and more unusual pies, ranging from a meat lover’s with four staple pizza proteins to a pie that combines roasted flavors of poultry and cashews.
Of course, the restaurant’s commitment to quality doesn’t end with their food. They also invest time in making community events special. They regularly participate in fundraisers for high-school bands, charities such as the Arthritis Foundation, and local Scout troupes and chicken coops.
Like a surname, a collection of family recipes often gets passed from one generation to the next. That's certainly the case at Brother's Pizza, which not only has a familial reference in its name, but its chefs also rely on third-generation recipes to make their authentic Italian dishes. One main draw is the restaurant's New York-style pizza, famous for its thin crust and ability to hail any cab when flung at the windshield. In 2013, it was ranked #1 in a local pizza crawl. Brother's diners can fill up on many pizza combinations inspired by the Big Apple, or on more than 10 other gourmet pizzas. Pastas with chicken and seafood are also hits here, and a BYOB policy makes it easy to sip a favorite drink with dinner.
Golden letters spell out the word “Namaste” on a banquette in Taste of India’s entryway, greeting the restaurant’s guests in traditional Indian fashion. It’s a fitting way to start a meal at this authentic restaurant, where the menu presents diners with a staggering selection of specialties, ranging from homemade saag or chili paneer, to lamb curry, spicy chicken phall, and lobster masala. As if choosing one entrée wasn’t hard enough, the cooks also make 13 types of traditional Indian breads, and fire up a traditional tandoori clay oven to bake each order of naan, roti, and paratha or glaze any unfinished pottery the customer may have brought with them.
With its casual dining atmosphere and rustic Old World cooking, Amato's Trattoria embraces the charm of Italian family-style eating. The chefs adhere to tradition by making pasta as well as meatballs in-house, lending a bit of homespun flavor to the menu?s assortment of classic Italian and Italian-American entrees. These iconic dishes appear alongside Sicilian-style pizzas, which diners can customize by adding as many as 19 different toppings?including everything from garlic and artichoke hearts to sausage and jalape?os. The dessert options manage to span both sides of the Atlantic by featuring traditional cannoli and tiramisu as well as New York-style cheesecake.