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.
Open an Asian-American dialogue with the guidance of a wide-ranging menu and the goodwill of taste-bud ambassadors. Start off with an order of spicy Thai Dynamite shrimp served over Asian slaw (S $5.49, L $8.99) or potstickers—dumplings filled with pork, green cabbage, scallions, and ginger and served with a citrus soy dip (S $3.99, L $6.99). Rice dishes and noodle bowls, such as Spicy General Fu and Pad Thai, are priced by main star, with chicken, beef, or tofu for $8.29, shrimp for $9.29, or veggies for $7.29. After selecting a hunger weapon, dive into the eastern seas of flavor with a wok-sizzled order of fried rice, which includes bean sprouts, scallions, carrots, egg, chopped broccoli, and brown sauce, or a spice-tastic Singapore noodle bowl with rice noodles tossed in a spicy yellow curry with carrots, onions, scallions, celery, garlic, and basil. A gluten-free menu and two special seared entrees are also available: seared ahi tuna steak, encrusted in sesame and served over a bed of sautéed spinach ($14.99), and flat- iron steak, marinated in a red-wine soy sauce and served on a bed of red bell peppers, mushrooms, and green and yellow onions ($12.99).
Liberty Bistro's menu highlights seasonal produce from small farms, wild seafood, and local meats, with each sumptuous bit of freedom-fare made in-house. Dig your mouthspurs into an appetizer of blue-cheese flatbread ($6.95) before harnessing the full power of the eco-friendly fare with the pork tenderloin, pan-seared and slow-roasted, then drizzled with red wine and mango coulis alongside roasted veggies ($17.95). Proudly sign your plate with the John Hancock chicken quarter, roasted with garlic and lemon and served with mashed potatoes and fresh greens ($13.95), or treat your dining companion to the freedom filet in a red-wine demi with potatoes gratin and shaved zucchini ($21.95). Top it off with a dessert ($5.95) such as a warm chocolate soufflé with berry and chocolate sauces.
Silver Sage Grille dishes up a wide-ranging menu of hearty savories, including Cajun and Texan delights, artfully prepared with fresh ingredients. Flavorful offerings include the breaded, pan-seared chicken piccata ($13.95) basking beneath artichoke hearts, capers, and lemon-butter sauce or the jalapeño salmon béarnaise ($18.95), a spicy affair involving grilled salmon, crabmeat, and gulf shrimp trained in the saucy art of lambada. The kitchen grills or pan sears the prime rib eye ($17.95) or new york strip ($18.95) to diners' specifications and coats the finished product in either béarnaise sauce or blue cheese ($3.00 each). Herbivores can find flora-based sustenance in the Canyon Lake salad ($9.95, add $3 for shrimp or $2.50 for grilled chicken breast), an assemblage of mixed greens combined with yukon potatoes, grilled asparagus, and a boiled egg plucked from nearby orchards.
The team of grill experts at Buddy’s Backyard broils up a menu of savory American fare, which can be enjoyed inside or on the shaded outdoor patio. Like hot, juicy snowflakes, all of the burgers at Buddy’s Backyard are prepared freshly in the kitchen and melded into different shapes, with pickles playing the part of eyes on top of wide, ketchupy grins. The Texas queso burger, packed tightly with homemade cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and homemade queso ($5.95), reduces hunger pangs to mere hunger memories, and a fried jalapeño burger ($5.95) spicifies your palate, like breathing fire that tastes like a fried jalapeño burger. Imaginative burgers can be augmented with beer-battered onion rings ($3.50) or French fries seasoned with sea salt ($2.75).
Instead of serving its sandwiches between buns or a pair of clean, white gloves, Fox’s Pizza Den takes a different approach. The pizzeria uses a fresh-baked, nine-inch pizza crust to create more than a dozen different versions of their signature Wedgies. The Italian, for instance, features ham, salami,and melted cheese slathered with gourmet Italian dressing, and the Veggie Wedgie loads up on mushrooms, onions, and green peppers.
Fox’s also uses its pizza crust for its original purpose: pizza. Ten different gourmet pies anchor the menu, including the steak rancher pizza, which chefs slather in ranch dressing and top with sirloin steak and mushrooms.