Fredericksburg Gourmet Coffee & Tea’s culinary construction crew assembles a menu of made-from-scratch brunch dishes alongside coffees and teas certified organic by the USDA. Baristas brew caffeinated concoctions from Class 1 specialty-grade Arabica coffee beans grown on high-elevation plantations, which advance the aromas with near-ideal weather conditions and spritzes of Chanel No. 5. After they're harvested, the beans simmer through a northern-German slow-roasting process before air-cooling and shipping the same day. Glasses of tangy orange juice and more than 85 loose teas complete the beverage selection, all served in biodegradable plastic or paper cups. Diners lounge in wicker chairs around granite-topped round café tables as they sip brews, devour huevos rancheros, or quiz blueberry-drizzled french toast on the latest Parisian slang. Classically styled menus and colorful artwork pop off yellow and red-orange walls, creating a bright, cheerful ambiance for savoring gourmet morsels.
Ruby Lorraine Feagan, better known as Tootie, began her business by building one pie at a time. Her reputation gained momentum after winning a succession of baking contests throughout Texas hill country. Her signature apple pie, containing up to 6 pounds of apples, was the foundation for Tootie Pie Company. Today, Tootie and her daughter continue to ensure the quality of Tootie Pie Co. Gourmet Caf?'s 12 signature pie flavors.
Inside Tootie's caf?, the menu ranges from paninis and gourmet sandwiches to soups and breakfast items. Sips of house coffee and espresso-based mochas clear palates between bites better than vigorously shaking them Etch A Sketch?style.
The resident smokehouse sages at Opa's Smoked Meats channel generations-old family recipes when concocting authentic German smoked-meat creations. Traditional smokehouse snacks such as beef and turkey jerky ($18.99) and dried sausage ($7.95/lb.) allow diners to sample tender cuts of meat without the hassle of finding a steak that cries at the end of Sleepless in Seattle. Spice up humdrum charcoal grills with jalapeño-cheese smoked sausage, which swaddles spicy peppers and aged cheddar cheese in a smoky overcoat ($4.69/lb.). Opa's whole smoked turkeys nicely complement a festive holiday feast ($2.89/lb.), and Oktoberfest celebrations are augmented with smoked boneless peppered hams ($4.79/lb.) stuffed into oversized beer steins.
Owned by two sisters and their husbands, West End Pizza Company kneads made-from-scratch dough and simmers secret sauces daily to craft an ever-fresh menu of homemade brick-oven pizzas and pastas. Signature pies include the barbecue chicken, which lassos the flavor of summer cookouts with barbecue sauce, red onion, and fresh cilantro ($20 for a large), and the West End, which sprinkles purple onions, black olives, and mushrooms upon a perfectly harmonized barbershop quartet of meats ($24 for a large). Patrons who prefer to build their own pizza ($15 for a large) slather sauces and toppings ($1.50 each) onto a light, hand-tossed Monopoly board, developing such properties as roma tomato railroads, alfredo avenues, jalapeño houses, and ritzy artichoke-heart hotels. Escorted by salad and garlic-knot groupies, the chicken or eggplant parmesan ($14), stuffed cheese ravioli ($13–$15), and lasagna ($14–$16) comprise the pasta VIP section—which, like the U.S. Chess Championship, garners the attention of ruthless paparazzi.
Jonathan and Crystal Bedford honor their daughter at Sweet Marley's Frozen Yogurt and Sandwich Bar, lending her name to their sanctuary of healthful treats and youth play space. Behind a green awning, cooks stuff fillings such as black forest ham, bosc pears, and dill havarti into six types of bread and flour tortillas, which they spice with inventive condiments such as cranberry or pesto mayo. The lunch menu is fresh and flexible, as all 13 sandwiches may be tossed into their three salads drizzled with homemade dressing or sliced in half and paired with the daily soup.
In the afternoon, a self-serve bar of more than 100 frozen-yogurt toppings such as chocolate and nuts spreads out to add sweet finales to meals. Sweet Marley's has partnered with Dublin Bottling Works to offer soda-flavored yogurt including Triple XXX Rootbeer and Orange Cream, as well as Ranch Road Roasters to offer mocha and Mexican vanilla latte flavored yogurts. They also have a mobile yogurt trailer that appears at various events in Texas, including Wildseed Farms in Fredericksburg.
Above Sweet Marley's white bungalow, the leaves of tall pecan trees block the sun's rays and penchant for taking satisfaction surveys from the yard's sandbox and nearby alfresco tables. The Bedfords created their eatery as a haven for happy toddlers, and also donate a percentage of their catering and café revenue to Rhizo Kids International, which conducts research for their daughter's rare genetic condition. The second-annual Miles for Marley 5k is scheduled for April 20.
Centered around a wide range of meats slow-cooked over mesquite wood coals, the menu at Cranky Frank's Barbeque Company bursts at the creases with flavor and smoky goodness. Stultify a bout of hunger or furnish uncomfortable silence with a pork, sausage, or specialty chopped-beef plate ($8.29), accompanied by all-you-can-ingest sides such as pinto beans, potato salad, chocolate pudding, coleslaw, green beans, and whole-kernel corn. Or, send an adventurous brisket sandwich ($5.75) down a cold, sugary flume of sweet tea ($2.50). Cranky Frank's also whips up an imaginative stuffed baked potato, its steamy insides suffused with butter, sour cream, barbecue sauce, and cheese ($6.49).