A Thanksgiving away from home can still feel homey.
Some of Texas’ best small-town restaurants are open Thanksgiving, and families come from miles around just as they have for years.
Jake & Dorothy’s Cafe in Stephenville, the Koffee Kup Family Restaurant in Hico and Ranchman’s Cafe in Ponder are three of the most familiar turkey destinations for city folk, country folk and travelers, and all three serve Thanksgiving dinner.
But first, here’s one you might not know:
The Walburg German Restaurant, in a 130-year-old general store and biergarten 4 miles east of Interstate 35 south of Belton, serves a German Thanksgiving buffet with roast turkey and celery-onion dressing, honey-roast ham and sides, plus its regular bratwurst, sauerbraten, schweinebraten and wienerschnitzel with German sides.
It’s an $18.99 buffet starting at 11:30 a.m. But it’s close to sold out. Call 512-863-8440.
If you miss out, plan a trip New Year’s Eve for a $50 prime rib buffet and dancing to the Walburg Boys yodeling and accordion band; 3772 Farm Road 972, Walburg, walburgrestaurant.net.
▪ Jake & Dorothy’s Cafe in Stephenville, about an hour from Fort Worth, is serving its 68th Thanksgiving.
The Roach family’s legacy restaurant is so famous for chicken-fried steak that it’s a lunch option this year, along with turkey or ham.
Lunches begin at 11 a.m. and come with a choice of three vegetables, including the mandatory yams and green beans, with pumpkin pie. The price is $14.95, or $11.95 for a smaller helping; 406 E. Washington St. (Business U.S. 377), Stephenville, 254-965-5211.
▪ The Koffee Kup Family Restaurant is fresh off its lofty No. 2 ranking for Texas’ best pies (in Texas Highways) and will have plenty ready Thursday along with the regular pumpkin.
The Kup will serve breakfast beginning at 6 a.m., then start lunch about 11. The price is $11.79; 300 W. Second St., at U.S. 281 and Texas 6, Hico; 254-796-4839, koffeekupfamilyrestaurant.com.
Go back anytime for Texas’ best burger-and-pie combo.
▪ In Denton County, Ranchman’s Cafe and the town of Ponder aren’t as country as they used to be, but Ranchman’s remains true to its country flavor and recipes.
Ranchman’s is also serving its 68th Thanksgiving and actually opened on the holiday in 1948.
A special Thanksgiving lunch includes turkey, sides and pies for $22.95, with the best availability at 3 p.m.
Ranchman’s is known for chicken-fried steak and steaks up to a 24-ounce porterhouse T-bone, and for bargain burgers and lunches. It’s open daily for lunch and dinner; 110 W. Bailey St., 940-479-2221, ranchman.com.
After the bird, beef
After the turkey feast, families or visitors often want barbecue.
Most of North Texas’ familiar barbecue restaurants will reopen Friday as usual.
North Main BBQ in Euless, the region’s best-known all-you-can-eat buffet of hickory-smoked brisket, ribs, pork, chicken and sausage, is open at 11 a.m. daily all weekend; 406 N. Main St., 817-267-7821, northmainbbq.com.
BBQ on the Brazos in Cresson, one of the newer restaurants featured in Texas Monthly, will reopen regular hours early Friday and serve until the meat runs out Friday and Saturday; 9001 U.S. 377, 817-396-4758, bbqonthebrazos.com.
Loco Coyote Grill near Glen Rose, the backroad restaurant at the original Hammonds location with a legacy of barbecue, chicken-fried steak and home cooking, will close Friday but open at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, also serving dinner Saturday; 1795 County Road 1004, 254-897-2324, lococoyotegrill.com.
Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que in the Stockyards will reopen at 11 a.m. Friday and will also serve rib-eyes Friday and Saturday night; 301 Stockyards Blvd., 817-626-6464, coopersbbqfortworth.com.
The most notable barbecue restaurant that remains closed Friday is Dallas’ busy Pecan Lodge. (Go back Saturday or Sunday. But Dallas’ Lockhart Smokehouse will be open.)