Just a touch crooked, the timbers that hold up New Braunfels Smokehouse's awning impart both a rustic and timeless look, which hearkens back to the smokehouse's 1940s beginnings. The Dunbar family bought five local ice plants including one in New Braunfels that formerly housed a brewery. With limited storage options, farmers brought their meats to the ice plant for refrigeration. Then employee Benno Schuennemann had an idea: he'd help the farmers preserve their meats even longer by curing and smoking them using old German recipes. As word grew of the smoked meats coming from the icehouse, the Dunbars found a whole new business on their hands. They added a restaurant in 1952, and by the 1960s, they fielded smoked-meat orders from across the United States.
Today, the Dunbars continue running New Braunfels Smokehouse from a new location, producing hickory-smoked beef, chicken, pork, and turkey using Benno's methods at their USDA-inspected facility. They also bake their own bread each day, plus insist that their chefs craft every side from scratch and smith every utensil by hand. The restaurant surrounds visitors in rustic style with decor that incorporates old-barn siding and knotty-wood paneling—many of the materials salvaged from the original smokehouse. After savoring meals ordered from the counter, visitors can peruse the country store for sausages and other packaged meats fresh from the smokehouse.
Beverly Crock and her daughters, Lauren and Shannon, are the family behind For Goodness Sake Natural Food Store. They stock familiar items such as bacon, as well as lesser-known products such as bioflavonoids—plant compounds believed to improve the skin's appearance. But if visitors aren't familiar with such items, it's not a problem. “We educate people,” Shannon explained to The NB Scene. “That comes naturally to me because I grew up this way and it is my lifestyle as well.”
Although the store's representatives happily guide patrons through their inventory, many of the store's products need no introduction. Rainbow-hued carrots and crisp sugar-snap peas beckon from their perches, and organic eggs come from Vital Farms, where chickens roam in pastures and take European vacations whenever they want. Additionally, at the juice bar patrons sip on nectars squeezed from the store’s organic produce.
The brainchild of Benny and Sandy Fontana, Olives Italian Market evokes an Old World corner market with dishes hewn from simple family recipes and hard-to-find Italian imported edibles. Panini makers layer imported Italian meats and cheeses atop fresh, rustic breads baked in-house to forge sandwiches, and creamy house-made gelato cools tongues steamy from java brewed from house-roasted coffee beans. The family-run shop also stocks a market of Italian ingredients, including extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegars, capers, pasta, and anchovies that patrons can use to create mouthwatering meals that inspire jealousy in cans of Chef Boyardee.:m]]
Texas Harbor Seafood's chefs hand bread fresh catches and assemble both individual platters and family-size portions of seafood and comfort fare. After perusing the menu, diners can declare their allegiance in surf vs. turf skirmishes, choosing from a roster of palatable options that includes a half-pound of crab legs ($8.99) or chicken-fried steak ($6.29). Twenty catfish nuggets perform original choreography from A Chorus Line before simultaneously splashing through tangy tartar sauce ($11.99). Families can feed every Tom, Dick, and Popeye with a 13-piece order of Alaskan pollock ($18.89), and individuals can keep an order of grilled salmon all to themselves ($8.99).
Crafting notably delectable frozen treats in small batches, Marble Slab uses high-quality ingredients and makes all of its treats and waffle cones on-site to present palates with super-premium ice cream. Just like tax forms, chef-inspired concoctions are prepared on frozen marble slabs to ensure optimal freshness and easy customization. First, choose one of Marble Slab's original ice-cream flavors, which include pumpkin, black walnut, bubblegum, mango, and amaretto (flavors vary). One of the expert dippers and mixers will then gently incorporate your choice of candy, nuts, fruit, or enthusiasm into the ice cream on the spot, before placing the freshly kneaded delight into a cup or fresh-baked waffle cone.
Wine is an effective cure for ailments such as boredom, conversationitis, and pasta-mouth. At Dry Comal Creek, you’ll imbibe a wide range of home-bred, adult grape beverages that are complex and stimulating in a way that makes grape-juice boxes flush with jealousy. You and a friend will taste an array of 10 wines, from dry whites and reds to demi-sweet wines. The Mongrel Bastardo offers a tongueful of sweetness laced with pineapple and lemon, and Comal Red IX pairs perfectly with barbecue, lending its powerful bouquet of blackberry, cherry, and chocolate. With 10 educational palate-pleasers in your repertoire, you'll get one non-reserve bottle to take home.