Jan 28, 2014

Lunchtime at the Nutty Brown Café, Dripping Springs, Texas

I figured it was about time to put out one last little blog post related to my work trip to Austin last fall. 

The Nutty Brown Café is the type of place that is busy even when it’s quiet.  By that, I mean even when people aren't going there for a kick-ass concert at their outdoor amphitheater (and we’re not necessarily talking small-time shows here … check out their website), they’re flocking there for the food.  And that’s what brought me and some work friends there while travelling between offices in the Texas hill country.

It’s located just southwest of Austin – Dripping Springs, Texas, to be exact – on U.S. Highway 290.  Keep heading west, and you’ll be driving through the heart of Texas hill country, Johnson City and LBJ’s homestead.  And if you want to take Waylon Jennings’ advice, keep going and look for the turnoff for Luckenbach just before you get to Fredericksburg.  Yes, there are a lot of great and famous venues for live music in this part of the state, and the Nutty Brown Café is one of them.

In the daytime, without the live music, I must admit the place looked rather innocuous when we first pulled up for lunch.  Well, except for the signature cowboy sign to welcome us, of course. 

He is kind of hard to miss from the road.
Still, the lot in front of the café was full, and we had to park in the back lot.  That’s where you begin to get an idea how expansive the grounds are for the live music they host.   More on that later.  Let’s go inside.  I’m hungry.

My work friends indulged me a lot on this trip.
The menu features classic Tex-Mex, as well as some traditional American standards, including Texas-sized burgers, fried chicken, catfish and a rib eye steak.  They also had a surprisingly large selection of salads (none really for the health-conscious person, of course) and chili and tortilla soup, which I guess are intended for smaller appetites. 

Cecil Gallo for three, please. 
To be honest, it all looked good.  And nobody in our party could make up our minds, which is why we all probably wound up ordering the lunch special of the day – the Cecil Gallo.  It’s a menu favorite – a large fried chicken breast smothered with queso, then topped with taco beef and pico de gallo.  It comes with guacamole on the side and your traditional refried beans and rice.  I don’t know how, but I ate it all.  And yes, it all tasted as decadent as it looks. 

And because it was the special, the Cecil Gallo was only around $8.  And that included your standard chips and salsa to whet the appetite while we waited.  All in all, great food very reasonably priced.     

After lunch, I waddled outside to the separate building that contained the restrooms, and got a better idea of the size of the grounds for the amphitheater. 

Restrooms are over here ... The stone bench is pretty cool.
Howdy!  View of the back entrance.  Texans sure are friendly.
This is just a portion of the seating and space available.  
Ok, so I still have a way to go to becoming a great photo-blogger.  The Nutty Brown Café and Amphitheatre’s photo gallery on their website offers a much better perspective. (they have a nice Facebook page, too.)  But it’s easy to see how the shade and seating provide a nice, roomy setup for live events large and small, or even just a nice place to drink to the sunset.  

I’ll have to make sure to check out a show the next time I’m in the area.  

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