One of the best destinations in our great state of Texas is a small town outside of New Braunfels named Gruene. In the old world (Germany), it would be pronounced differently, but in Texas it is pronounced green, like the color. This delightful little town must be experienced. But the great news is that no matter what floats your boat, lifts your skirt, or shines your shoes, you can always find a fun activity in Gruene. Antique shopping, arts and crafts, old fashioned candy stores, wine tasting, tubing down the Guadalupe River, sleeping the morning away at a bed and breakfast, catching a concert, or boot scootin’ the night away, Gruene has you covered. But you can’t do all these activities without some energy and grub from the iconic Gristmill River Restaurant and Bar, located under the water tower in the heart of Gruene, next to the iconic Gruene Hall.
Originally, the Gristmill was exactly that, an old cotton gin situated perfectly on a bluff above the Guadalupe River since 1878. The restaurant opened in 1977 serving Texans and their guests delicious meals! You really can’t go wrong with any choice. Family favorites are the pork ribs, steak, chicken fried steak, cold baked potato salad, and Gristmill fries. And hope that they are offering the pulled pork sandwich the day you visit! Wait, I take that back. You have to get the onion rings! But besides that, choose at will. The menu items are a perfect Texan combination of German, Polish, Mexican and down-home style. You will either find something that will be completely new to you or something that taste like Mama’s.
Most of the seating is outdoors, perched above the river below. The indoor seating is fun too, as you get to experience the old gin up close. They don’t make barnwood like that any more. No matter where you sit, take some time before or after your meal and walk around the buildings, grounds and decks.
Notes: There is often a long wait, well, because it is awesome, so when you get to town, put your name on the list or check on the line and then stroll around town. Also, there is a big parking lot across the street, behind the winery.
P.S. The Gristmill is fantastic with groups!! I recently planned a trip for 50 high school students through central Texas visiting colleges and places to study the Texas environment. So we HAD to stop in Gruene, a place many of our students had never heard of. Sitting under the trees, hearing the river and tubers below made it a perfect setting. The staff was phenomenal and friendly! The service was so smooth and quick we finished much earlier than other restaurants. As a result of the great service, we had plenty of time to walk around and enjoy the rest of the town. Just call ahead to make reservations for your group.