Bastrop is a small town right on the banks of the Colorado River near Austin. It was named a Distinctive Destination in 2010 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in recognition of the City’s work to preserve its historic character, promote heritage tourism and extend its welcome. We visited recently, and found that it does all that so well.
Bastop is really cute. Not only does the city have more than 100 historic homes, most of them beautifully restored, but the main street is straight off a movie set. In fact several movies were filmed here including the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Hope Floats, The Tree of Life, Bernie, A Perfect World to name but a few. This is what I imagined all towns looked like in Texas, but better.
Maxine’s Cafe is at the centre of it all. It has been named as one of the 40 best places for breakfast in Texas by Texas Monthly magazine and one of the 40 best small town cafes in Texas. Their menu had all the Texas classics. Home baked buttermilk biscuit topped with a scrambled egg and bacon with gravy, or a bowl of stone ground grits with your choose cheese, cinnamon, brown sugar, raisins, blueberries or pecans on top. If you want something a bit bigger you can have chicken fried steak or a stack of twelve pecan praline griddlecakes served with a quarter pound pile of bacon. I was tempted by Milgas which is blend of jalapenos, onion, tomato and corn tortilla strips, eggs, bacon topped with cheddar cheese and serviced with flour or corn tortillas and a nice cup of hot chocolate.
My hot chocolate arrived at the same time as my meal and a water served in a large jar with a straw in it. The hot chocolate was too sweet for my taste but I can see how it would be a popular staple around here.
After all that food it was easy to spend the rest of the day wondering around the town. The tourism office had some really good guides for walking tours you can do yourself. Down the street was an old drug store that still serves homemade sodas. My favourite thing about Bastrop though were the wild chickens. A few blocks away from the main street is a small street that recently became a Historic Chicken Sanctuary to protect the flock of wild chickens that have long called this area home for many, many years. Signs have been put up all along the road to let drivers know not only that they have entered the Farm Street Sanctuary but that they need to slow down to avoid running over one of these special chickens. Random I know, but I loved it.
Verdict: Good food, welcoming atmosphere and really friendly staff. They are known for their breakfast, not their hot chocolate and I hope I will have the chance to come back for more. The people of Bastrop are lucky. Maxine’s Café, 905 Main St. Bastrop, Texas.