By Megan Ables—
Stephenville is home to a moderate number of restaurants, but few are above average in quality. Rather than having to guess and test each one blindly, below is a dining guide for those who are new to the area and looking for a restaurant that is worth their time and money.
It’s the sweet and spicy combination baked into a soft sourdough bun that can turn a good burger into a great burger. If you haven’t held one of Grump’s jalapeno bun burgers in your hands, then it’s time to take a drive to 1645 W. South Loop in Stephenville, Texas.
The burgers are cooked medium-well unless specified, but don’t be scared to order it medium. A little pink won’t hurt you. It essentially adds flavor to your dining experience. Each bite into my bacon cheeseburger was just as juicy as the last. You know a burger is good when you need more than one napkin to make it through the meal. A thin blanket of American cheese mixed with the savory flavor of perfectly cooked bacon makes it nearly impossible to set the burger down until every inch is devoured.
Many restaurants in Stephenville claim to make the best burger, but don’t let them fool you. Grump’s burger is packed with the most flavor and served at a price that even a college student can afford.
1645 W. South Loop, Stephenville, Texas
Outside of American cuisine and average Mexican food, Stephenville offers scarce dining diversity. Thankfully in the spring of 2017, Bangkok Thai opened its doors and brought a taste of Asia to this small Texas town.
Bangkok Thai offers four different types of curry: red, yellow, panang, and massaman. Each curry is simmered in coconut milk, adding a sweet flavor to help combat the sharp spice that ranges from levels one to five. The customer is given the option of choosing chicken, beef, shrimp, seafood, pork, or mixed vegetables to be added to their curry. Every spoonful is guaranteed to be filled with something different than the last. Served with a side of steamed rice, each curry is stuffed with the perfect combination of ingredients.
The dish that stands out in flavor and excellence is their Bangkok crispy pad Thai. Fried wonton noodles are mixed with broiled shrimp, egg tidbits, bean sprouts, green onions, and crushed peanuts to provide the perfect candy bowl mixture. The crunch of the wonton noodles is slightly lost due the sauce, but it is still potent. Though the shrimp needs more seasoning, this sizable dish is rich with vibrant flavor and a scrumptious array of textures.
2121 W Washington St., Stephenville, TX 76401
If you’re wanting to enjoy a night in, don’t hesitate to call Pizza Place and order take-out. In just twenty to thirty minutes you could be driving home with a warm cardboard box on your lap keeping your legs nice and toasty. With sizes from mini to extra-large, Pizza Place offers a pie that is perfect for your dining experience. Their thin, lightly golden crust is crunchy but not at all burnt. If you prefer your pizza meaty to the max, order the meat lover’s. After being sprinkled with provolone cheese, mounds of sausage and hamburger meat is piled atop pepperoni and Canadian bacon. The crumbled mountain of meat tastes so fresh, it’s as if it came straight from the skillet to the hearty creation.
Even more filling than their beefy pizza is their meat lover’s calzone. As you pull apart its pre-separated pieces, strings of provolone cheese quickly drape out of its core. A toasted crunchy shell about the size of a flattened football protects the meaty work of art. Stacks of Canadian bacon and pepperoni slices form the top and bottom tier of the calzone, stuffed with a middle layer of ground hamburger meat. With each bite, meat and savory juices tumble out, making multiple napkins mandatory. To add even more flavor to the meal, dip the calzone into marinara sauce. If you are any less hungry than a bear, opt for the small size, or plan to share it with a lucky friend.
801 S Harbin Dr. #A, Stephenville, TX 76401
Stephenville may be known for its cowboys, but it is not known for barbeque. Though Hard-Eight is popular among the locals, you’ll have to travel thirty miles to Hammond’s in Glen Rose if you’re looking to enjoy exquisite barbeque.
Operating since 1966, it’s no surprise that Hammond’s is the best-tasting barbeque in the area. Don’t be ashamed to order off their kid’s menu as their two-meat plate will take care of the average hunger. I have lived in Texas for twenty-three years and I have never tasted sausage as juicy as Hammond’s. It is so succulent that you can see the juices glistening like tiny diamonds scattered throughout the meat. Barbeque sauce is almost unnecessary. What is harder to perfect in the restaurant industry is sliced brisket. Often brisket is dry and fatty, but Hammond’s knows the secret to flawlessness. Their brisket is just as tender as the sausage, infused with natural juiciness. It requires minimal effort to chew, and is packed with delicious flavor when dipped into their warm tangy barbeque sauce.
Instead of choosing average-tasting fries as a side, opt for onion rings. Each ring is evenly coated with golden batter and contains the perfect amount of crunch. The onions are tender and easily break apart with each bite. No stringy naked onions are ever revealed. Even special care is given to Hammond’s complimentary Texas toast. Evenly buttered, their bread is crunchy and toasted on top, but soft as fresh dough on bottom. It’s as if it came straight out of the oven only seconds before being served.
1106 NE Big Bend Trail, Glen Rose, TX 76043
Jake and Dorothy’s Café
For almost seventy years Jake and Dorothy’s Café has been operated by the same owners on East Washington Street. It’s a large but quaint restaurant that serves home-style American plates and breakfast all day.
Though known for their chicken fried steak, where they really excel at are their homemade pies. With about ten different flavors to choose from, you’re guaranteed to find something that catches your fancy. The pie that stands out the most in excellence is their Triple Chocolate Delight. It is a pie of perfection. A graham cracker and crushed pecan crust crumbles with every piercing of the fork, falling apart on the plate before being scooped back up for the next round. A hearty layer of chocolate filling sits atop a thin coating of cream cheese, making each bite just as savory as the last. Stacked high with whipped topping and a light dusting of pecan pieces, this pie is hard to beat in Stephenville. Side note: Be sure to ask the cashier which pies Benny made to ensure that you’re not buying a pre-made dessert.
On Tuesday evenings from 5-10 p.m. they offer $1 hamburgers. Though they aren’t quality gourmet burgers, you can’t beat the price. Be sure to bring your own cheese!
Open until midnight Sunday through Thursday, and 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, Jake and Dorothy’s is the perfect place to go when the moon is out and you don’t know exactly what you’re craving. This timeless establishment offers quality customer service with a genuine smile.
Jake and Dorothy’s Café
406 E Washington St., Stephenville, TX 76401
The connection between people, live music and wide-open spaces turns a restaurant into a social gathering. The Loco Coyote nine miles west of Glen Rose is exactly that.
A three-sectioned rustic wooden building with a covered full-service bar stretches across a field of green grass, allowing customers to wait for their table outside where they can watch the sun set below the hills of North Central Texas. Be prepared for time to slow down as you wait for an hour to an hour-and-a-half for your table. Though you may grow impatient, every minute spent waiting is well worth it.
Loco Coyote is popular among locals for the chicken-fried steak. The slab of perfectly cooked steak fills the entire plate, making you feel overwhelmed and overjoyed at the same time. Your fork will cut through the thick layer of fried crunchy batter and tender meat – no knife needed. Topped with creamy flavorful gravy, it’s no surprise that some people will drive over an hour to the Loco Coyote to enjoy it.
If you’re not afraid to get down and dirty, try ordering their Jack Daniel’s BBQ burger. In addition to a thick hearty burger patty, this burger is layered with sliced beef, onion rings, and fried pickles, topped with cheddar cheese and coated with a sweet Jack Daniels sauce. Though the hamburger meat is lacking flavor, the other ingredients make up for it. I had to take off my jacket and tie my long hair back before even attempting to take a bite out of this gargantuan creation. Each bite is packed with flavors from different ends of the spectrum, pairing the sourness of the pickles with the sweetness of the BBQ sauce.
Dining at the Loco Coyote in Glen Rose is an off-road experience that will leave you with a full-sized to-go box and your belt buckled one notch looser.
Loco Coyote Grill
1795 Co Rd 1004, Glen Rose, TX 76043