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Truth BBQ’s barbecue trays
Truth BBQ’s barbecue trays
Truth BBQ/Facebook

Where to Eat on the Road Between Austin and Houston

165 miles of edible possibilities

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Truth BBQ’s barbecue trays
| Truth BBQ/Facebook

Traveling between Austin and Houston is just a part of life for any Austinite, whether it’s for business, pleasure, or family. The two and a half hour car ride (give or take) can get pretty boring, so it’s worth planning a road trip stop or two for food, refuel, and bathroom breaks along U.S. Route 290, SH 71, and I-10.

Eater gathered the best food and drink pit stops along the well-traveled path between Austin and Houston. There’s favorite highway gas station/convenience store Buc-ee’s, kolaches from Hruska’s and Weikel’s, tacos from Taqueria Rio Verde, barbecue from Truth BBQ, sausages from Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse, mead from Rohan’s Meadery, and much more. Once in Houston, there are plenty of restaurants to explore. And remember, there’s always a Whataburger somewhere, waiting with burgers and honey biscuit sandwiches.

For other well-trodden Texas paths, Eater Houston offers its picks for the Dallas–Houston artery, and Eater Dallas tackled the Dallas–Austin trek. Look out for Eater Austin’s dining suggestions along I-35 guide to trekking down to San Antonio. Keep up with the rest of Eater Road Trip Week on Eater Austin, as well as the other sites.

Everything below is listed in geographical order, from west to east. If your favorite Austin-Houston road trip dining stop is missing below, let Eater know through the tipline, within the comments, or over on the forum.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Berdoll Pecan Farm

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The Cedar Creek gift shop is the place for all things pecan, from from shelled nuts, chocolate covered ones, pecan bars, and even pecan pie. Find the latter through the store itself or opt for a vending machine pie instead.

Pecan pies from Berdoll Pecan Farm
Pecan pies from Berdoll Pecan Farm
Kim H./Yelp

Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse

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Elgin’s known for its sausages, and Meyer’s is the place for smoked versions of the linked meats. Plus there's a breakfast drive-thru with sausage wraps and barbecue tacos, so no one needs to get out of that car.

Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse
Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse
Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse/Facebook

Maxine's Cafe & Bakery

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Stop by the Bastrop restaurant for the breakfast classics in the morning, starting at 7 a.m. for those early bird drivers.

Pancakes from Maxine’s
Pancakes from Maxine’s
Maxine’s/Official

Buc-ee’s

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Buc-ee’s is Texas' favorite road staple for a good reason. The sprawling Bastrop store and gas station has everything: clean bathrooms, all sorts of coffee and slushies, and a whole bunch of snacks, from those heralded beaver nuggets to jerky to fudge, and a surprising amount of food too, from breakfast tacos to sandwiches.

Beaver nuggets from Buc-ee’s
Beaver nuggets from Buc-ee’s
Jillian G./Yelp

Roadhouse Bastrop

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Burgers are a road trip staple and Roadhouse’s take on the patty and buns, with a wide array of options from the over-the-top Destruction Burger to vegetarian-friendly black bean one.

Burger from Roadhouse Bastrop
Burger from Roadhouse Bastrop
Roadhouse Bastrop/Official

City Meat Market

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Not to be confused with the one in Luling, the Giddings spot is a meat market in the front and an old school barbecue joint in the back. The meats here are served on butcher paper, just as it should be, and the pickles come whole instead of sliced.

Barbecue from City Meat Market
Barbecue from City Meat Market
Aliesha L./Yelp

Weikel’s

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The kolaches at this La Grange shop are made with lard, so obviously it’s worth the visit. There's also pigs-in-a-blanket, cookies, fresh-baked bread, muffins, and more. Look out for the roaming chickens that wander around the gas pumps.

Weikel’s kolaches
Weikel’s kolaches
Martin M./Yelp

Taqueria Rio Verde

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Tacos can make or break a trip, and the ones from Taqueria Rio Verde's bright orange building do just the trick, with giant $3 combinations of the usuals, as well as tortas, gorditas, Tex Mex plates. Saturdays, there are menudo and barbacoa. It's only open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A combination plate from Taqueria Rio Verde
A combination plate from Taqueria Rio Verde
Sarah R./Yelp

Rohan’s Meadery

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What is mead? It's honey wine. This family-owned and -run meadery is open to visitors Thursday through Sunday, perfect for weekend road trippers on the way to or home from Austin.

Mead from Rohan’s Meadery
Mead from Rohan’s Meadery
Kris U./Yelp

Hruska’s Kolache Bakery

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For another kolache stop, Find a surprisingly large selection of Czech pastries inside the Chevron gas station, making this an excellent pit stop, with sweet flavors like apple to cream cheese and blueberry to poppy seed. Don't leave without grabbing a couple sausage klobasniky and, if the mood hits, one of the decent burgers, too.

Hruska’s kolaches
Hruska’s kolaches
Hruska’s/Facebook

Royer’s Round Top Cafe

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Stock up on pies from Royer’s Round Top Cafe and be sure to get a slice of junk berry for fruit-on-fruit-on-fruit flavors.

Royer’s Round Top Cafe pies
Royer’s Round Top Cafe pies
Royer’s Round Top Cafe/Facebook

JW’s Steakhouse

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Lunch is the way to experience the Carmine steakhouse. Make it a decadent meal with any of the mesquite-fired steaks and oyster add-ons or indulge in chicken fried steak instead.

JW’s Steakhouse
JW’s Steakhouse
Darren B./Yelp

Dairy Cone

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Dairy Cone (not to be confused with Queen) is fast food done right, with burgers, corndogs, chalupas, and an array of baked potatoes from chili-topped to barbecue. And yes, there is soft serve, as the name suggests.

Dairy Cone
Dairy Cone
Nic N./Yelp

Truth BBQ

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This Brenham barbecue spot blew up relatively recently, with its inclusion on Texas Monthly's best barbecue list under pitmaster Leonard Botello IV and a team that includes former La Barbecue pitmaster Dylan Taylor. On deck are the good ol' Texas staples, brisket, beef ribs, sausages, turkey, and a plethora of sides and housemade cakes. Opt for the stuffed potato, which comes with barbecue and be prepared to take a quick nap before hitting the road again.

Truth BBQ’s barbecue
Truth BBQ’s barbecue
Truth BBQ/Facebook

Chappell Hill Bakery & Deli

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In the morning, travelers stop for Chappel Hill's first-class kolaches. Later in the day, it's all about the barbecue and sausages and giant baked potatoes loaded up with meat. Either way, ice cream is always a good idea, and you can grab a bottle of jalapeno ketchup as a take-home souvenir.

Chappell Hill Bakery & Deli
Chappell Hill Bakery & Deli
Alex R./Yelp

Breakfast Paradise

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For easy breakfast and lunches, look to Breakfast Paradise in Hempstead, where the morning plates come with the usual staples: pancakes, waffles, French toast, and tacos.

Breakfast Paradise
Breakfast Paradise
Paula J./Yelp

Kathy’s Korner

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For seafood cravings, hit up Kathy's Korner for quick and easy po-boys, gumbo, and baskets filled with everything from shrimp to crawfish. Since it’s so close to Houston, take advantage of that drive-thru for a speedier finish.

Crawfish at Kathy’s Korner
Crawfish at Kathy’s Korner
Rebecca C./Yelp

Berdoll Pecan Farm

Pecan pies from Berdoll Pecan Farm
Pecan pies from Berdoll Pecan Farm
Kim H./Yelp

The Cedar Creek gift shop is the place for all things pecan, from from shelled nuts, chocolate covered ones, pecan bars, and even pecan pie. Find the latter through the store itself or opt for a vending machine pie instead.

Pecan pies from Berdoll Pecan Farm
Pecan pies from Berdoll Pecan Farm
Kim H./Yelp

Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse

Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse
Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse
Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse/Facebook

Elgin’s known for its sausages, and Meyer’s is the place for smoked versions of the linked meats. Plus there's a breakfast drive-thru with sausage wraps and barbecue tacos, so no one needs to get out of that car.

Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse
Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse
Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse/Facebook

Maxine's Cafe & Bakery

Pancakes from Maxine’s
Pancakes from Maxine’s
Maxine’s/Official

Stop by the Bastrop restaurant for the breakfast classics in the morning, starting at 7 a.m. for those early bird drivers.

Pancakes from Maxine’s
Pancakes from Maxine’s
Maxine’s/Official

Buc-ee’s

Beaver nuggets from Buc-ee’s
Beaver nuggets from Buc-ee’s
Jillian G./Yelp

Buc-ee’s is Texas' favorite road staple for a good reason. The sprawling Bastrop store and gas station has everything: clean bathrooms, all sorts of coffee and slushies, and a whole bunch of snacks, from those heralded beaver nuggets to jerky to fudge, and a surprising amount of food too, from breakfast tacos to sandwiches.

Beaver nuggets from Buc-ee’s
Beaver nuggets from Buc-ee’s
Jillian G./Yelp

Roadhouse Bastrop

Burger from Roadhouse Bastrop
Burger from Roadhouse Bastrop
Roadhouse Bastrop/Official

Burgers are a road trip staple and Roadhouse’s take on the patty and buns, with a wide array of options from the over-the-top Destruction Burger to vegetarian-friendly black bean one.

Burger from Roadhouse Bastrop
Burger from Roadhouse Bastrop
Roadhouse Bastrop/Official

City Meat Market

Barbecue from City Meat Market
Barbecue from City Meat Market
Aliesha L./Yelp

Not to be confused with the one in Luling, the Giddings spot is a meat market in the front and an old school barbecue joint in the back. The meats here are served on butcher paper, just as it should be, and the pickles come whole instead of sliced.

Barbecue from City Meat Market
Barbecue from City Meat Market
Aliesha L./Yelp

Weikel’s

Weikel’s kolaches
Weikel’s kolaches
Martin M./Yelp

The kolaches at this La Grange shop are made with lard, so obviously it’s worth the visit. There's also pigs-in-a-blanket, cookies, fresh-baked bread, muffins, and more. Look out for the roaming chickens that wander around the gas pumps.

Weikel’s kolaches
Weikel’s kolaches
Martin M./Yelp

Taqueria Rio Verde

A combination plate from Taqueria Rio Verde
A combination plate from Taqueria Rio Verde
Sarah R./Yelp

Tacos can make or break a trip, and the ones from Taqueria Rio Verde's bright orange building do just the trick, with giant $3 combinations of the usuals, as well as tortas, gorditas, Tex Mex plates. Saturdays, there are menudo and barbacoa. It's only open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A combination plate from Taqueria Rio Verde
A combination plate from Taqueria Rio Verde
Sarah R./Yelp

Rohan’s Meadery

Mead from Rohan’s Meadery
Mead from Rohan’s Meadery
Kris U./Yelp

What is mead? It's honey wine. This family-owned and -run meadery is open to visitors Thursday through Sunday, perfect for weekend road trippers on the way to or home from Austin.

Mead from Rohan’s Meadery
Mead from Rohan’s Meadery
Kris U./Yelp

Hruska’s Kolache Bakery

Hruska’s kolaches
Hruska’s kolaches
Hruska’s/Facebook

For another kolache stop, Find a surprisingly large selection of Czech pastries inside the Chevron gas station, making this an excellent pit stop, with sweet flavors like apple to cream cheese and blueberry to poppy seed. Don't leave without grabbing a couple sausage klobasniky and, if the mood hits, one of the decent burgers, too.

Hruska’s kolaches
Hruska’s kolaches
Hruska’s/Facebook

Royer’s Round Top Cafe

Royer’s Round Top Cafe pies
Royer’s Round Top Cafe pies
Royer’s Round Top Cafe/Facebook

Stock up on pies from Royer’s Round Top Cafe and be sure to get a slice of junk berry for fruit-on-fruit-on-fruit flavors.

Royer’s Round Top Cafe pies
Royer’s Round Top Cafe pies
Royer’s Round Top Cafe/Facebook

JW’s Steakhouse

JW’s Steakhouse
JW’s Steakhouse
Darren B./Yelp

Lunch is the way to experience the Carmine steakhouse. Make it a decadent meal with any of the mesquite-fired steaks and oyster add-ons or indulge in chicken fried steak instead.

JW’s Steakhouse
JW’s Steakhouse
Darren B./Yelp

Dairy Cone

Dairy Cone
Dairy Cone
Nic N./Yelp

Dairy Cone (not to be confused with Queen) is fast food done right, with burgers, corndogs, chalupas, and an array of baked potatoes from chili-topped to barbecue. And yes, there is soft serve, as the name suggests.

Dairy Cone
Dairy Cone
Nic N./Yelp

Truth BBQ

Truth BBQ’s barbecue
Truth BBQ’s barbecue
Truth BBQ/Facebook

This Brenham barbecue spot blew up relatively recently, with its inclusion on Texas Monthly's best barbecue list under pitmaster Leonard Botello IV and a team that includes former La Barbecue pitmaster Dylan Taylor. On deck are the good ol' Texas staples, brisket, beef ribs, sausages, turkey, and a plethora of sides and housemade cakes. Opt for the stuffed potato, which comes with barbecue and be prepared to take a quick nap before hitting the road again.