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Restaurants & Bars

Discover a True Texas Roadhouse and Have the Night of Your Life

Ditch the chain for the real, rustic thing.
| |Steven Visneau
A pickin’ night at the Gar Hole, in Anna.

Here’s how not to discover the best little roadhouse in Texas: google “Texas roadhouse.” The term was effectively appropriated by the late Kent Taylor, may he rest in peace, the Kentucky native who founded the Texas Roadhouse chain of restaurants that successfully commodified the concept nationwide.

What was previously understood to be a welcoming, no-frills establishment providing passing travelers with food, libations, and musical entertainment—maybe even guest and equine accommodations—instead became synonymous with fried onion blossoms, jalapeño poppers, and “Texas chili” with, bless Taylor’s bluegrass heart, beans.

No, the best way to discover the best little roadhouse in Texas is to hit the actual road. Or, in my case, to stumble across a Facebook tribute to Hondo Crouch on the anniversary of his death written by an East Dallas guy named Claude “Spider” Webb. 

Webb was so inspired by Crouch and the way he turned the former ghost town of Luckenbach into a music and gathering destination that Webb opened his own roadhouse, the Gar Hole, right before the pandemic in a bank once robbed by Bonnie and Clyde in a town once known as Westminster. 

Even more bizarrely, it turns out Webb isn’t the only great storyteller with a spider-related nickname to open a new roadhouse with an old soul in a historic building relatively close to home. There’s also Laura “Spydie” Bush, the proprietor of the Rattlesnake Roadhouse in Walnut Springs. You can read more about both venues—as well as several more good-time gathering places worth the drive—in our March cover feature, which goes online today. (Then, stick around and read about Spidey Webb’s love of Luckenbach and why he brought its energy to North Texas. He wrote an essay about it.)

So ditch the Cactus Blossoms and try a Texas roadhouse less traveled by. I promise: it will make all the difference.


Kathy Wise

Kathy Wise

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Kathy Wise is the editorial director of D Magazine. A licensed attorney, she won a CRMA Award for reporting for “The…

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