Springtime in Texas is for Wildflowers and Good Food in Round Top
by Bob Price on March 29, 2013 at 1:00 PM
Thanks to the efforts of Lady Bird Johnson and thousands of volunteers at the National Wildflower Research Center, driving the highways and backroads of Texas in the springtime is a thing of beauty and grandure. It is a great time to take a break from the hustle and bustle of our political debates and look at what real life in Texas is all about. If you live within a hour or two drive of Round Top, Texas, you need to plan a trip through the flowers and a stop for some of the best food in Texas at Bud Royer's Round Top Cafe!
I first learned of the Royer's Round Top Cafe while listening to a radio show hosted by former KPRC-Weatherman Doug Johnson in 1989 when he described the then new diner as one of the top places to go in Texas for home style cooking. So, off I went, traveling west from Houston out FM 529 through the rolling hills that start near the quaint town of Bellville and then back roads through industry up to Round Top where I first met Bud Royer and experienced what has now become a long standing springtime tradition.
Royer's Round Top Cafe - Round Top Texas
This weekend marks the kick-off of the annual Round Top Antique Festival. So, with the flowers in full bloom and lots to do in this little town, it is a great weekend for a trip to the country.
Round Top is an interesting collection of shopping, antiques, great music and delicious food. When I used to drive through there on my way to Blinn College in the mid 70's there wasn't much to see. With a population under 100, it barely even warranted slowing down from the then 55 mph limits. But now, thanks in large part to Bud Royer and the success of the Round Top Cafe, along with the Festival Hill Music Institute, it is bustling with activity. There are clothing stores, art galleries, the historic homes in Henkel Square, wine shops, other dining establishments and, of course, Royer's Round Top Cafe. So even though the speed limits have been raised, this is definitely a place where you slow down and smell the coffee (or pies).
The Round Top Cafe has become my very favorite place to eat in Texas. From "The Great Steak OMG!" to "Todd's Pork Tenderloin" to qual and salmon, you can't help but find something that will fit and completely satisfy your pallet. You can see his complete menu here. Because Royer's is a homestyle place, and because Bud doesn't like empty chairs, if you go as a couple expect to be seated with other people at your table. This is a great way to make new friends, and I have always enjoyed everyone I have met at Royers.
The Caswell Family just moved to Houston from Boston. How did they beat you to Round Top?
Before your meal arrives, you will be served some great buns with an herbal butter and apple butter. These are wonderful, but I recommend you just nibble on this as you will need room for the great stuff to follow - including some of the best pies in Texas!
Inside Royer's Round Top Cafe
The atmosphere in this place is always amazing. People are laughing and having a great time enjoying the Texas hospitality of Bud, his family and their staff. I have known many of these people now since they were teenagers, and it is always great to reconnect with them. Bud's great sense of humor is evident from the moment you walk up to the front porch and on through to the menu. There are also pictures of people who have been there in the past plastered all over the place. And then, of course, there are all the "eat more pie" t-shirts available to purchase.
My lunch, on my last visit, was the Micah's Snapper. A grilled Red Snapper topped with shrimp and sauteed in white wine, olive oil, basil, garlic and tomatoes. It was delicious as is everything on the menu. My guest had the Micha's Salmon that was equally amazing.
And last, but certainly not least, comes Bud's world famous pies! All pies are served with vanilla ice cream - it costs you an extra 50 cents if you don't want the ice cream! That's Bud for ya!
Of course there is a great Pecan Pie that is to die for, but many others as well. These include, Buttermilk Delight, a "Texas Trash" pie with chocolate chips, pecans, caramel, coconut, graham crackers and pretzels, Chocolate Chip, White Chocolate Macademia, Butterscotch, Sin-namon Rolls and just about every kind of berry and fruit pie you can imagine.
Bud has many rules when you visit his place. One great one is you can call ahead to get your name on the waiting list while you are driving out. Call 979-249-3611 to get on the list. He also has rules about the pies... here are Bud's Pie Eating Rules:
1. We serve all pies with AMY'S ICE CREAM for 6.75. It cost .50 extra if ya’ don’t have the ice cream. IT IS SO WRONG TO NOT TOP YOUR PIE WITH AMY’S ICE CREAM!!!!!
2. If split an entrée….no split a piece of pie! L.I.T.T.S! And we serve smaller pieces if you split your pie....L.I.T.S!!! & Your momma ain't in the cafe!
3. It is best to order your pies 24 hours in advance to make sure that we have the pie that you want to eat in the car on the way home!
4. All whole pies are 25 & the Sin-namon Rings are 30.
5. “Our Unsung Hero Award!” is for TEACHERS or NURSES—A free scoop of AMY’S ICE CREAM on your pie with the purchase of an entrée.
Bud also has a pie-of-the-month club, a booming mail/internet order pie business and Operation Desert Pies where you can have pies shipped to your favorite military member serving our nation. Watch this video of members of the military as they receive their pies from Texas!
Last I remember, Bud doesn't take credit cards at the cafe. So bring cash or your checkbook and be ready for a great meal!
Take a trip to Round Top soon! Take in the beautiful flowers along the way and just spend some time relaxing in the beauty of a great Texas spring! As Bud loves to say, LITS! (Life is too short). Save room for the pie!