Explore Texas / Travel Tastes

Royers Round Top Cafe

You can’t go to Round Top and not say howdy to Bud, aka “the Pieman.” The big fella is the funky owner of Royers Round Top Cafe. Bud is a big softy, but he’ll put you in line with his booming voice if you’re dilly dallying out on the porch for too long.  

The iconic Texas bistro is an institution in the tiny town of Round Top with a population of 77 people.  Royers is a tiny joint and is always packed. Expect to wait. But that’s okay, because you can grab a Shiner or Gyspyrita (winearita and Shiner Ruby Red) and sit a spell on the porch or out on a hay bale. Royers is so small it only seats about 40 people, so the bathrooms are outhouses.

The food is contemporary comfort food -Texas comfort food with a gourmet twist. There are a couple of must orders – Stuffed Jalapeños, Grilled Shrimp BLT, and Not My Mom’s Apple Pie.

The Stuffed Jalapeños are these giant fried balls of ooey gooey yumminess. They are flat out diet busters. The jalapeños are stuffed with swiss, cheddar, and cream cheese along with crabmeat and shrimp. You have to dip each bit in their cilantro ranch dressing.

It’s the jalapeño sourdough bun that sends the Grilled Shrimp BLT over the top or to OMG – Oh My Goodness – status as they say at Royers. 

Inside the bun-with-a-kick is a quarter of a pound of shrimp with bacon, lettuce, tomato, and slattered with smoky mesquite mustard. I love the note on the menu: “Best eaten as a sandwich and not picked apart to get the full impact of the flavors. Trust us!!” They’re right – open wide and chow down.

Since I was there on a shoot for my TV show “Houston Life,” we got to sample several other things on the menu.

Micah’s Snapper was the lightest of the entrees we tried. It’s topped with shrimp and sautéed in white wine, olive oil, basil, garlic, and tomatoes. Simple yet so good.

The Steak Special is a must for steak lovers. The steak is topped with portabella mushrooms and red onions sautéed in a rosemary red wine cream sauce. As the menu says, “The flavors are out of this world!!”

How we saved room for desserts….yes with an “s,” I have no idea.  The homemade pies with ice cream are scandalously delicious. 

Not My Mom’s Apple is holy cow wow! Each pie is made with six Granny Smith apples blended into a sinful filling of brown sugar and whipped cream then topped with pecans and brown sugar streusel.

Being a chocolate and caramel lover, my favorite is the one that Food Network ranked as #3 dessert in the nation. The Sweet N Salty is gooey chocolate fudge with swirls of rich caramel and sprinkled with sea salt. It’s devilishly delicious! It was easy to taste why it’s one of the best desserts in the country.

If you’re a pecan pie fan, Ann Criswell’s Pecan does not disappoint. As they say it’s “pa-can” not “pee-can.”

We also had to try Troy’s Junk Berry named after the Junk Gypsies Amie and Jolie Sikes (check out my blog Wander on Over to Gypsyville for more on them). It’s also named in memory of Troy Glasco, a dear friend of Royers. On the menu this pie is also called “AKA Crack Berry Pie.” It’s a mix of apples, peaches, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and peaches then topped off with a baked sour cream sugar topping. It’s “berry” delicious!

On my next visit, I hope I’m there on a Sunday so I can taste and witness the craziness of Conlee’s Fried Chicken Dinner that starts at noon and goes until they run out. The chicken is marinated for 24 hours in buttermilk and garlic then hand battered. It’s served family style with mashed potato casserole and cream corn. You can also order jalapeño cheese grits, black-eyed peas, or broccoli salad. Who’s with me on enjoying a mouthwatering good ole Southern Sunday lunch tradition?!?!

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