Floating across the surface of Lake Conroe, the Southern Empress might as well be drifting back in time. The ship perfectly resembles a nineteenth-century sternwheeler riverboat, with two 18-foot paddles churning the water behind it. Inside the three sprawling decks, chandeliers gleam against embossed tin ceilings, and accents of brass and velour flaunt the same Victorian style as the floral carpets.
The boat does boast some modern amenities, however—two of its decks are climate-controlled, which means that its signature cruises can run year-round instead of stopping during iceberg-mating season. They can also head outside to the split-level third deck, which affords the best view of the lake and surrounding forest. Hosts for special engagements, such as weddings or corporate parties, can even reserve this scenery for themselves during private charters.
Homemade dough soars from the hands of the pizza gurus at DoubleDave's Pizzaworks before it bathes in from-scratch sauce and dresses in gourmet toppings. The menu collects more than 15 toppings to shower over pies, from sliced meatball and smoked ham to crushed garlic. Specialty disk, The Works ($15.99), plays a medley of locally sourced cured meats, mushrooms, and smoked provolone cheese, and the classic veggie ($15.99) takes a stand for sustainable eating and cows' valuable roles as attentive listeners with a hailstorm of black olives, italian sweet peppers, and honey whole-wheat crust. Guests can also craft a salad from the salad bar, where 16 toppings graze freely.
1904 Historic Landmark with wrap-around porches & gorgeous gardens. World-class restaurant & bar-lunch, dinner & Sunday buffet. 8 romantic rooms: king or queen beds, private baths, whirlpool tubs, movie channels, wi-fi, & full breakfast. The perfect getaway half-way between Dallas, Houston & Austin.
The Canada family has been serving Southern classics to local families since 1935. James Canada continues in his forefathers' tradition at Canada's Hole in the Wall Grill, where he whips up juicy steaks, crispy fried catfish, and handmade Angus beef burgers. The skilled chef bustles about behind the counter of his open kitchen, folding beef, chicken, and pork into tacos and showering hefty beef hot dogs with chili and cheddar. For dessert, he doles out thick slices of apple cobbler, key-lime pie, and chocolate cake.
It's not uncommon to spot James and his family strolling around the tables of the dining room, greeting newcomers, refilling coffee cups, and considerately spoon-feeding customers while making rocket-ship sounds upon request. When discussing the warm and friendly atmosphere at the restaurant with the Conroe Courier, James said, "It's nice to be able to have a place where regulars can come and enjoy a meal and see their friends."
The staff members at Tortilleria La Buena Vida abides by the idea that "the tortilla makes the taco," which is why they crank out fresh corn and flour tortillas each day. They fill these tasty tortillas with a variety of fixings, including chicken, pork, and shrimp, drawing from recipes that span Mexico. To wash down meals, the casual taqueria offers authentic Mexican drinks including aguas frescas which are fresh water fruit drinks.
Chef Andrew Carlisle is living the dream at Cafe N'Dulge. Hailing from California, he spent time as a restaurateur and executive chef in New Orleans, then moved to Houston to head up kitchens in several hotels. He always envisioned running a restaurant and catering company, though, and that's exactly what he's doing at Cafe N'Dulge. It's one part catering business, one part café—and both are boons to the hungry. On the café side, you get shrimp po' boys with fries or fruit, and Santa Fe burgers topped with roasted green chili, pepper jack cheese, and baja sauce. Andrew's creativity flavors his catering menu, too, which includes breakfast buffets, pasta bars, and build-your-own meals that erase all memories of sad bag lunches past.