On Good Friday morning, we had breakfast in Hico. Don and I were traveling with our friends, Pat and Susan.
Like us, they knew little about the small town of about 1,300, in North Central Texas. We had however, heard that the Koffee Kup was a great place to go for breakfast.
Cowboy at the Table
Don and I have eaten in a few restaurants, with cowboy signs or names. This one had a mighty fine silhouette image of a cowboy, above the door.
That man with his hat and spurs, seemed to be pondering life. Or was he just savoring that last sip, while he stared at the coffee pot? I wondered if we would see any cowboy hats inside.
We entered at about 8:45 and I spotted no cowboys. We pondered only briefly, about where to sit.
There was a nice big table near the door, with the Koffee Kup logo branded into wood. We headed back and aimed for one of the booths.
Booths and Displays
There lots of salt & pepper shakers on display.
There was a booth open, by one of the display cases.
We chose a slightly larger booth, so I had to sneak over for a peek at the fine collection.
We took a seat and before long, we had coffee at our table. Our server was quick and efficient.
I believe her name was Mary Ellen and she didn't have much time for chit chat, since the place was filling up fast. Before long I saw my first cowboy hat.
Eggs, Bacon and Biscuits
My scrambled eggs came fried. I really didn't care, but Mary Ellen seemed concerned as she studied her pad. I had the feeling she had never made a mistake before.
I assured her I was happy with fried. The bacon was crispy the way I like it. The biscuits were far too crumbly to make a breakfast sandwich... or I might have. I like the idea of gravy... but all I usually need, is one taste.
Pat went for bacon like me, but Susan ordered oatmeal with her eggs. It was Good Friday after all.
We all laughed when we saw the size of her bowl. Don's breakfast burrito was amazingly good. We probably should have ordered pie, even at breakfast. That's what they're known for.
More Hats, More Locals
Before long I spotted a few more cowboy hats. I'm not sure why this amused me.
Hico is surrounded by ranch land, so I shouldn't have been surprised. I noticed a lot of diners, stopping to greet other diners. This seemed to be the place to eat and socialize.
On my way to the restroom, I paused to look at the wall with framed photos and news clippings. There was a portrait of a man, directly above the still vacant, "branded" table.
Mary Ellen was standing near the kitchen area and she noticed me looking.
"You probably think that he's a movie star." She gestured towards the black and white photo.
Owned by the Allen Family
Mary Ellen had been so busy earlier, but suddenly she was happily carrying on about Lynn Allen, the old owner who had died a few years ago. She pointed to names, engraved in the wood. There were about 16.
"Those are the names of the men who used to gather at this table, every day." She pointed out the name Jack Allen. I believe he was Lynn's dad, who started the Koffee Kup in 1970. "They're all gone now." She added sadly.
We left happy and I shared my tiny bit of info in the car with the others. Later I searched the internet for more info. I was curious about the history of this busy place in a small town. The info I found, made me sad and angry.
I was sad that my happy little dining experience was suddenly tainted by my curious Googling. I was angry, because I learned that not all that long ago, the restaurant's name was different. The once, Koffee Kup Kafe had a shorter nickname... KKK. From what I read, I don't believe it is just rumor, that clan meetings were held in this very building.
I could have chosen not to add this restaurant to the blog. Or I could have left this part out. But I've shared what I discovered, because that's what my dining adventures are about. Usually my surprises and discoveries are amusing or curious. Sometimes I learn some history, that I eventually forget. This disturbing discovery, won't be forgotten.
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.