Austin isn’t the only destination in central Texas where you enter into a foodie’s paradise! Bastrop County, situated just outside the city limits, is home to a variety of eateries that each deserve a spot on your list when you’re visiting Central Texas.
From fishing and hiking to kayaking and camping, there’s so much to do in Bastrop County that you’ll definitely work up an appetite. Fortunately, it’s Texas – and some of the best eats in the country are located just down the road for whatever you’re craving: from chicken fried steak to fall-off-the-bone BBQ.
Whether you find yourself in Bastrop proper, or one of the surrounding towns like Elgin or Cedar Creek, here are the best places to eat in Bastrop County, Texas!
Neighbor’s Kitchen & Yard
Hidden behind Bastrop center, you’ll find Neighbor’s Kitchen & Yard, which feels like you’re in someone’s literal backyard! The yard is a small area with string lights and four different structures, housing a variety of little shops, including a music shop and a CDB store.
Neighbor’s Kitchen & Yard sits back here, right on the Texas Colorado River! Neighbors is a rustic vibe cooking some delicious scratch-made food, including amazing specialty pizzas. We had the parmesan basil chicken wings and tried two of the pizzas. The Tree-Hugger, with tasty ripe tomatoes, artichokes, and tangy feta was delicious on a traditional pizza sauce. My wife loved the unique taste of the Fancy-Free with the balsamic reduction drizzled over Canadian bacon and creamy goat cheese!
If you can plan it, visit Neighbor’s Kitchen and Yard on the first Friday of the month, where they feature “PIckin’ on the Porch!” Local musicians will come out and jam in the yard, while people hang out on the porch of Neighbor’s sipping beers and eating some darn good food!
The Grace Miller “Gracie’s”
If you’re looking for a perfect chicken fried steak, you need to go no further than The Grace Miller “Gracie’s” in Bastrop center! Serving out heaping piles of comfort food, Gracie’s has an award-winning menu with friendly staff that has been working there since the beginning!
We went for lunch and sat indoors but noticed that there was an option for outdoor seating as well, which would be nice in the colder weather. Immediately we ordered up some sweet tea and fried pickles since we were starving! The pickles were some of the best I’ve ever had – kosher dill spears with a beautiful, well-seasoned crust, served with a side of Ranch (obviously!).
My wife ordered the chicken fried steak sandwich, and we were stunned when it arrived at the table! It was a massive portion of chicken fried steak, open-faced, with a delicious homemade white gravy poured over it! Unbelievable! I got the green chili cheeseburger, which was cooked to perfection!
The burger itself had a nice sear on it, giving it that little bit of crunch, and I loved the slight kick in the back of your palate from the green chilis! The best part, however, was the homemade sourdough bun – so good! You’d definitely get yourself one heck of a good meal at Gracie’s!
Tough Cookie Bakery
If you’re over at Neighbor’s Kitchen & Yard and looking for a sweet treat for the way home, check out Tough Cookie Bakery, located right across the yard. This scratch bakery and cafe feature a wide variety of options, specializing in vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free products!
Yes, I was a bit surprised seeing a vegan bakery in the middle of rural Texas, but when I look at Bastrop itself, it makes sense. Bastrop is a town where artists and cattle ranchers live in harmony, and businesses cater to both of those different lifestyles equally. It’s really a fantastic thing to see!
Enjoy some fair-trade bottomless coffee, have a gluten-free, vegan scone, and sit on their outdoor porch in the warm Texas morning sun! Tough Cookie will delight your tastebuds even if you’re a meat-eating gluten lover like myself!
Cedar Creek, Texas
The first thing we did when we arrived in Bastrop County was to check out the local Mexican food! I love authentic Mexican food, and definitely wanted to take the opportunity of finally being in Texas to get a really fantastic meal! While I do love me some Tex-Mex, I was looking for the real thing. Right up the road from us is El Jalisco’s – an unassuming little restaurant from the outside, but I soon realized after being in town for a while that they have quite a few locations throughout the county!
We strolled in on a Sunday afternoon and were greeted by lovely staff who were attentive, friendly, and quick! After spending the previous two days traveling, it was quite lovely! We started with warm tortilla chips and salsa – the real stuff! It was a thin consistency, with finely diced chilis and onions, and just the right amount of tang to leave a sizzle on your tongue.
The fresh tortilla chips were SO GOOD, too! Our meals, the chicken quesadilla, and the tacos al pastor, which came with the absolute best-refried beans and rice I’ve ever had! Everything was absolutely delicious! No matter where you’re staying in Bastrop County hit up an El Jalisco’s! You won’t be disappointed!
The Taco Stop
It’s probably not surprising that in Texas, there are quite a lot of food trucks and roadside stands. Bastrop, being right outside Austin as one of the food truck capitals of the U.S., has its own share of trucks and stands. One such in Elgin is The Taco Stop.
Located in a small food truck park in Elgin Center, right near the train tracks, you’ll find the little teal hut with a line around the corner. This cash-only joint is serving up some of the most amazing homemade Mexican breakfast tacos you can see in the area. But you better get there early, because they usually sell out before 1 pm most days!
Mix and match your favorite from a variety of breakfast and lunch selections: from bacon, egg, potato, to chorizo, picadillo, and Carne guisada or choose one of their “Customer Favorites” from the menu! They also have lunch tacos, as well as quesadillas and tortas. The family-owned food truck has an amazingly friendly staff, out of this world tacos, and is inexpensive to boot!
While you may think you’ve pulled onto the set of a Rob Zombie horror movie, you actually haven’t. It’s just the Roadhouse in Paige, where you’ll find some of the best burgers in Bastrop County: for the past 12 years running! This hidden gem restaurant has some of the best eats around and the place where locals go on a Friday night.
It’s one of the best places for a burger or a steak. I’d recommend the jalapeno cream cheeseburger! It was cooked perfectly on a tower of fries, with a perfectly baked sourdough bun and fresh veggies on top! My wife got the steak burrito, and the meat was cooked a perfect medium-rare! It was gigantic and utterly delicious!
Driving out of Bastrop Center towards I-71, you’ll come across a setback little store with the Texas flag painted across the roof and flags adorning the porch. Welcome to the Sugar Shack! Bastrop’s little secret is the candy shop of your childhood. Fill up your bags with penny candy, or choose one of the special treats they have on the shelf that you may remember from your childhood!
If candy’s not your thing, they also have a wide selection of Bluebell Ice Cream and are willing to serve it to you with your favorite toppings. I also really loved the fact that they had a lot of custom cones available to go with your icecream. We’re not talking your sugar or cake cone – we’re talking waffle cones dipped in chocolate and rolled in Reece’s Pieces! Create the masterpiece cone of your dreams!
Since it was close to Valentines’ Day, we took advantage of the promotion that Sugar Shack was running for truffles and chocolate-covered strawberries. The truffles are made on-site and are some of the most delectable I’ve had. They’re huge – as big as a golfball – and there are more than 20 options to choose from. From personal experience, I can thoroughly recommend the Cookies & Creme and the Funfetti! We also got hand-dipped chocolate-covered strawberries, which they did while we waited! They were some of the freshest strawberries I’ve had in a while, and the chocolate was absolutely excellent!
If you need a sugar fix, check out the Bastrop Sugar Shack: you definitely won’t leave empty-handed!
Are you a vegetarian in Texas? Well, don’t worry about it because you can still get one of the best burgers on the planet at Your Mom’s in Smithville. Specializing in stuffed burgers, Your Mom’s is cooking up home-cooked, quality food prepared to order by a fantastic chef! This is definitely not fast food. This is a hand-formed patty, stuffed and zipped with molten cheese in the middle, and expertly topped with special Your Mom’s sauce and fresh vegetables, on a homebaked bun, with a generous pile of hand-cut fries on the side.
In fact, this was one of the best burgers highlighted on the Food Network Crave. In an episode about finding the best burger, the host visits Your MOm’s and tries one of their vegetarian creations which then forces him to question his life as a carnivore! Now, while I’m by no means a vegetarian, I do love a really well prepared and homemade veggie burger.
And this one is one of the best ones I’ve ever had. From the fresh guacamole to the ooey-gooey cheese exploding upon the first bite, I never once missed the meat. The mix of flavors really brought out the pepperiness of a burger, while keeping the texture of ground beef the same. It was moist, well seasoned, and honestly, one of the best burgers I’ve ever had.
This family-owned and operated restaurant really cares about their customers and their food. They deliver high quality, homemade, delicious meals made with tons of loving. It really is like going into your mom’s kitchen back home!
Meyer’s Elgin Smokehouse
Now, in Texas, you can pretty much go anywhere and get some decent barbecue. There are tons of different joints to choose from, but there are some that are better than others. In Bastrop County, that place would be Meyer’s Elgin Smokehouse. Specializing in the original “Elgin Sausage,” Meyer’s is also cooking up some of the best bbq I’ve ever had.
In full transparency, I’m a North Carolina BBQ girl. I like my meat sauced up with a little sweetness, and prefer a good pulled pork over a dinosaur beef rib. If you’re familiar with Texas BBQ, those are two things that are generally missing. Texans prefer to let the meat (usually beef) and cooking method speak for itself, and often only season the meat with a good salt and pepper rub to create a crust. That’s pretty much all the prep that goes into it.
That’s why when I got my pulled pork from Meyer’s, I was pleasantly surprised how absolutely delicious it was! It wasn’t saucy like North Carolina BBQ, but the pork was moist and well cooked. I actually enjoyed it more than I have other places in North Carolina! They also had a bbq sauce available (which is typically a big no-no for Texas BBQ), but I was thrilled with it!
Meyer’s offers a family-run atmosphere with really reasonable rates and food that you’ll keep talking about in the days and weeks to come! If you’re looking for some damn good BBQ, look no further than Elgin!
Stroll along Main Street in Bastrop, and you’ll happen upon this sweet little bakery in one of the restored vintage buildings. Hidden among art galleries and local vendor stalls, Simply Sweet offers amazingly delicious cupcakes baked on-site in their small commercial kitchen.
Simply Sweet offers both regular and mini-sized cupcakes in flavors that you love, like carrot cake and red velvet, as well as distinctive flavors like key lime pie, snickerdoodle, and tuxedo cheesecake! In addition to the cupcakes, they also serve Amy’s Ice Cream – a locally owned ice cream company out of Austin that’s famous for its Mexican Vanilla flavor! We tried the cookie dough, and it was absolutely delicious!
For cupcakes, I chose the carrot cake, and the strawberry and my wife picked out red velvet and chocolate peanut butter. We took them home to enjoy later, and let me tell you that we absolutely did! The red velvet was definitely our favorite – moist with just the right amount of sweetness, and the cream cheese frosting was amazing! If you’re in Bastrop, stop by Simply Sweet and grab yourself one a treat – they’re totally worth it!