I love the sign. It just announces OST, like you happen to know it stands for Old Spanish Trail!
On the other side of the sign you can actually still make out the words Dance and the bottom. They no longer having dancing at OST.
Where is OST?
Bandera calls itself the Cowboy Capital of the World. The town of about 1,000 sits in the hill country, not far from numerous dude ranches. As you can see there's at least one cowboy hat in front, but we saw plenty more in town and in the restaurant. The restaurant opened in 1921, but before that, there was a grocery store on the left and a horse corral on the right.
It was about 1:00 on Sunday afternoon when we arrived and the place was packed with more locals than travelers. There was no room in the John Wayne room for us. This area which had been the horse corral became a dance hall in the '30's and '40's.
Besides obvious western décor, we noticed some holiday decorations right away. The purple and green beads and masks hanging from the wagon wheel reminded us that Mardi Gras was approaching. We had already noticed festive debris in the streets. Too bad we had missed the "Cowboy Mardi Gras" parade the day before!
As the crowds thinned, with fewer diners at the hefty sized cedar tables, I dared to take a photo in the John Wayne room. There must have been about 100 photos of the famous cowboy, not to mention a life sized cutout.
Near the Animals
Don and I sat in the front room where we could admire the trophy elk, a stuffed turkey and a deer head, instead of Duke photos.
I was eager for the chuck wagon experience, even though they were already taking the noon buffet away. I was still able to get the salad bar off the wagon, but as it turns out there wasn't much exciting salad stuff to even fill my dinky "one trip" bowl for $7.99. Don's green chicken enchiladas were very good, however. I would recommend the Tex-Mex at OST.
Getting Closer to the Animals
I did as I was told...by the sign on the counter. Straddle a Saddle and Eat at this Old Bar. Who can resist sitting on a saddle to eat your lunch? (Most people I guess, since no one was at the counter) Since I was wearing my boots for this lunch outing, I decided to give the saddle a try. It also got me a better glimpse of the elk who was sporting some colorful Mardi Gras beads. Then I walked over to have a closer look at the deer head, mounted proudly above the pie cooler. Now why on earth would you have a fake deer head in this world of cowboys and hunters?
The fake deer was more creepy than funny. I took a photo and walked away, then suddenly heard some music start up. It was Willie Nelson singing, "On the Road Again". A waiter, who had noticed me admiring the deer, activated the deer's annoying musical abilities. You could tell we were the only tourists because no one else got up to chuckle and take cell phone videos of his moving mouth!
Sitting on a saddle at OST's counter could make any diner thirsty for a beer. I don't think they even serve beer at OST, but they do at the 11th Street Cowboy Bar, one street over. We had too much traveling ahead to stop for a beer, but we stopped for a look and a chat with some of the bikers sitting in front. I should have stepped closer to photograph the porch, which had cowboy boots dangling from the metal awning.
Other Dangling Things
I did go ahead and step inside the tiny bar to capture a photo of a mighty fine bra collection dangling from the ceiling. I guess I was asking for it, by snapping a photo. A man in a cowboy hat asked if I was planning on adding to the donations. I laughed as I peered up for one more look. "I don't think I have one dirty enough."
I haven't quite figured this little town out with all the horses and motorcycles. I thought I had prepared enough by wearing my cowboy boots, but I may need to watch some John Wayne movies and work on my swagger before I return.
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.