I finally got to try a little barbeque that the Hinze family has been selling for over 40 years. My husband Don has dined numerous times at this busy spot just outside Wharton, Texas. I've heard stories about the delicious pecan smoked meats....and the curious trees that grow right up through the ceiling of the restaurant.
Mural in the Trees
The parking lot was jammed at 7 pm on a Thursday. We followed our noses to the front door, pausing to enjoy this cowboy mural above the roof. And then I saw the trees! You can see them poking right through the metal roof.
Greeted by the Squirrel
I had to take this photo later, when the line disappeared. Luckily we had time to view the big menu and study some framed photos and greet the squirrel before ordering at the counter. Don said the crowd was much more relaxed at dinner compared to the hurried, hungry lunch crowd...where you better know what you want by the time you reach the counter.
No Texas BBQ restaurant would feel quite right without a few animals staring down. But Hinze's has more than their share. The turkey fanned out on the wall was a funny one. And the rooster on the stove was the king of kitchen clutter. I'm all for having lots of junk to look at.
I've seen lots of stuffed animals in barbecue places, but never have I dined (inside) with trees. Here is one of the 2 huge trees growing up through the roof in their front room. Evidently these trees have caused a few problems with the roof over the years. Don talked with owner Jim Hinze a few years ago about some serious leaking. Luckily weather was good while we dined.
Curtains? You can't see them too well here, but you have to love some burlap window curtains...trimmed with a strip of bandana fabric and a giant button or two!
Where's the Meat?
These photos are ridiculous. You can't even see the sausage underneath the sauerkraut or the beef ribs and brisket underneath the white bread! If we hadn't been so hungry and the food so good, I might have noticed how useless this shot was and taken another photo. But let me just say, the baked potato stuffed with sausage, chives, cheese, sour cream and sauerkraut was darn good comfort food. It was scalding hot, which is a good thing. I hate barely warm potatoes. And Don's ribs were pretty amazing. He can be picky. He felt embarrassed to not make use of the barbecue sauce (since he requested 2) but the meat was too good to cover up!
This deer has nothing to do with my dessert, which has a wonderful name! But he watched me as I carried it from the counter to my seat. (mostly, the deer is replacing the dessert photo that I forgot to take) But I should mention dessert since many are big fans of pie.
I was sort of talked into the sawdust pie by a very enthused young girl at the counter. She raved about the crushed Ritz crackers and pecans and the generous topping of whipped cream. She was so giddy with her description that I forgot I don't like whipped cream. Hopefully I can come back another time and try one of the other desserts...and visit my deer friend!
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.