DESTINATIONS, Restaurants & Bars, Road Trips, TRAVEL, United States

Strolling Away from San Antonio

Gristmill Restaurant, Gruene, TX
Lunchtime in Gruene, TX


All good things do eventually come to an end, one way or the other – even a girl’s trip to San Antonio – but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun on the way home!

Though everything had not gone exactly as planned, Deb and I had a pretty amazing time in San Antonio.  Now it was time to go home.  We left San Jose Mission after the Mariachi Mass and headed north on I-35.

What’s for Lunch

I’d suggested a few lunchtime possibilities which would be within striking distance of our ride home.  Deb agreed they sounded interesting and we decided on the Gristmill River Restaurant and Bar in Gruene.

Back in 2013, on my South Texas Ramble, Bill and I stopped by Gruene – a place I’d heard of but never visited.  We enjoyed the town for several hours, but we’d just had a late breakfast in Austin and weren’t interested in a meal.  We did meander through the Gristmill and I made a mental bookmark, because it looked like my kind of place.

Small Town Traffic Jam

When Deb and I pulled into Gruene on the beautiful Sunday afternoon in June, we realized just about everybody else in Central Texas must have also decided it was a good day to visit.  We inched along at a snail’s pace until reaching the public parking lot, found a spot and headed toward the restaurant.

Watch the Board

The Gristmill has no pagers, they don’t call your name over a PA system and you don’t have to wait in line.  You head over to the outdoor stage to enjoy a little music and keep an eye on the board.  This was by far the most unique, most elaborate and most entertaining seating method I have ever seen or heard of.

Cute young things in cut-off shorts work themselves to death in this particular arrangement, but it’s a lot of fun.  One group of girls stay busy writing names up on this board of folks whose tables are ready and erasing names of seated parties.  Another group of cute girls play messenger between the hostess stand and the board monitors.  I was just beginning to get the rhythm of the set up when they added my name to the list of parties being seated.  Since I was hungry, I was glad to see it, but I confess I’d hoped to watch the activity just a little bit longer.  I’d been so engrossed I hadn’t even paid any attention to the musician who was supposed to be entertaining us.

Onion Rings, Gristmill Restaurant, Gruene TX
Be Sure to Order the Onion Rings

The Gristmill really is an old mill, but it was a cotton-gin, not a place to grind meal.  I’m still wondering why they didn’t call it The Cotton-Gin or just The Gin, but who can argue with success – and are they ever successful.  The riverside venue was just made for throwing back a few cold ones while you nibble away at tasty vittles.  Folks of all ages are gathered around the tables, but it did appear the lion’s share were college-aged or recently-college-aged.  I’m not sure how they managed to get an occupancy permit, because the place looks like it might fall down during the next rainfall, but so far it hasn’t.

I had the Chicken Salad Sandwich.  I think Deb had something with lettuce and chicken too, but in another configuration – though it might have been a burger.  Before the main course, we did indulge in the house specialty – fried onion rings.  It’s a good thing we declared the weekend a “no-calorie zone”.  Even with all the walking we did, I’m sure there was the potential for more calories than our steps would have walked off.

Ready for the Last Leg

After our pleasant respite on the patio with great food and warm sunshine, it was time to do get back to the Metroplex.  We did stop at the Buc-ee’s in Temple, but soon afterwards we were home.  There’s no place like home, but there’s also no place like a road trip with your best friend.

Come back by next week and see what other kind of trouble I have managed to get into.

2 thoughts on “Strolling Away from San Antonio”

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