My family and I took a weekend trip in the Hill Country to escape the early spring winds blowing to the Rio Grande Valley this year. While we were there, we decided to visit several well known towns. Gruene (pronounced green), Texas, was one of them. If you happen to visit this town, you truly must mosey on down to the Gristmill Restaurant which has been around for 31 years.

This large three story building use to be a water-powered mill and is now the well known and historical restaurant people can’t get enough of.

As we approached we were greeted by a lush landscape with towering oak trees. The air was filled with some “Good Ole” country music that was coming from the Gruene Hall which happens to be the oldest dance hall in Texas where music legends like George Straight and Lyle Lovett got started. Our hostess greeted us with “Texas Hospitality” and was quick to find us a table. The table number to be exact was #91 which overlooked the Guadalupe River. My husband and I thought it was quite romantic and the scenery ideal for our relaxing escapade.

Deciding what to order from the extensive menu was a dilemma, however I decided to order the tortilla soup because it had “Award — winning Gristmill recipe” written next to it. The price was $5.99. The broth was excellent! The dish was dressed with slices of avocados and a dainty dollop of sour cream. Yum! Plenty of tomatoes, shredded chicken and corn tortilla strips also accompanied this hearty soup. (This dish could easily be a meal by itself.)

Then came the second delight, I decided to indulge in a Texas favorite and the dish of the day, Baby Back Ribs that came with one side and a salad. My Ribs were succulent and had been slowly cooked to perfection. There was also a brown, caramelized crust on the outside of the meat and a distinct smoky sweetness along the darkened edges. The mash potatoes I ordered were not over seasoned so combined with my ribs they made a perfect marriage. I also delighted in the house parmesan vinaigrette on my salad. Imagine all this for $11.99.

Our attentive waiter persuaded us to order their famous Jack Daniel’s Pecan Pie a la mode for only $5.49. Sensing the time was ripe for decadence, I had to say yes. The pie was Texas goodness! The small amount of chocolate chips hiding amongst the pecans was a perfect touch and the crust was moist and flaky.

As I slowly savored my dessert I could hear the song “Dreams” being sung by the late Roy Orbison. What a great ending to a wonderful meal. All the waiters were energetic and professional.

The beef tenderloin sandwich and the fried catfish along withtheir famous onion rings are a must. Don’t miss out on the fresh squeezed lime margaritas!

If you like sweets, their mega sized strawberry short cake is to die for.

The kind waiter also gave me the scoop on the other what tables are most requested — #84 another great view outside and for a large party ask for table # 403 and table #604 is perfect for a couple indoors.

This is a family friendly restaurant with a laid back atmosphere. I must say to Gruene’s Gristmill Restaurant “a bientot “or in American lingo “ I’ll be back.”

Mme Gourmande

Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar: 1287 Gruene Road, New Braunfels, Texas 78130. 830-625-0684 $$