Red River Steakhouse looks like it jumped straight off the reels of a Western film: its raw-wood façade opens to a rustic interior with paintings of rolling grasslands, red barns, and horse-drawn carriages. On the tables, cowboy boots serve as vases for bright sunflowers or footwear for men with no name. In the kitchen, chefs bread and cook chicken-fried steak on flat-top grills, season racks of ribs with signature rubs, and on weekends, slow smoke pork ribs and prime ribs. The catering side of the operation offers similar fare, including aged Black Angus rib eyes, sirloin kebabs, and prime rib. With confidence in their cuisine, the caterers offer a 120 percent satisfaction guarantee or money back plus a discount on the next order.
With more than 90 buffet dishes including 30–35 hot entrees and more than 10 varieties of sushi, it’s no surprise that Buffet Palace's Austin location has been voted best buffet 12 times by Austin Chronicle readers. The similarly well-stocked Killeen location looks like a grounded spaceship from the outside, complete with a cylindrical metal cage, a Saturn-style ring, and two alien-like statues.
At each location, a modern 350-seat dining room vaunts sleek countertops and high ceilings as well as a buffet so long visiting Lilliputians regularly land planes on it. Items range from Korean-style salads and Japanese sushi to more than 30 primarily Chinese hot dishes such as sesame chicken and pan-fried dumplings.
In addition to these made-from-scratch items, a chef cooks Asian pancakes and dumplings. Before departure, diners can also stock a plate full of the buffet’s housemade desserts, which include cakes, cookies, and fruit so fresh it often gets smacked by older, wiser side dishes.
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit has smoked beef brisket in-house nearly every night since 1941, painting each morsel with a tangy house-made sauce. Pulled pork, turkey breast, and polish sausage round out the menu with meals that are heartier than a burrito wrapped in Paul Bunyan’s plaid shirt. Boxed lunches and catered buffets brim with homestyle sides such as coleslaw, mac 'n' cheese, and jalapeño beans. Once the last pickle has been crunched and the last finger has been licked, guests can savor one of the restaurant’s most cherished traditions: a vanilla cone, on the house.
Every day, Carpenter Hamburgers stocks fresh beef from local vendors in its refrigerator. They form this beef into hamburger patties, from a quarter-pound round to a hefty full-pound burger. Though the crew will tailor a burger with customers' desired toppings—from grilled onions to fried eggs—they also prepare signature Texas Fire Cracker burgers. The latter burst with pepperjack cheese and fried jalapeno strips, giving tongues a bigger kick than Paul Bunyan booting a soccer ball to his ox. The kitchen also crafts other casual food favorites from ingredients culled from local vendors—frito pies, hot dogs, fried pickles, and steak fingers.
From the comfort of her state-certified home bake shop, Black Tie Bakery owner Paulette Black uses her 25 years of cake-crafting experience to sculpt custom creations and other tempting treats. Her signature cake truffles––which carry the title of “Best Palette Pleaser” from Taste of Cleburne––are bite-sized orbs of some of her most popular cake flavors, including white chocolate, chocolate, and spice, and customers are welcome to choose up to three different flavors to mix and match into each dozen. Each tooth-teasing treat will be handcrafted, dipped in chocolate, and decorated to suit the needs of any event—be it a bridal shower, baby shower, or bathroom shower—and the dainty desserts can be ready for pick-up or delivery within 48 hours of ordering.
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