Founded in 1845 by Prince Karl of Solms-Braunfels, the historic town of New Braunfels in Texas is packed with good food spots that reflect the town’s origins and history. Prince Karl was a pioneer of the German colonies in Texas, and the food and drink of New Braunfels today still retains a strong German feel. Here are ten of the best places in town to check out.
The Buttermilk Cafe in the Gruene Historic District is all about familiar, comfort food flavors. The chef, Carol Irwin, has previously recieved awards including San Antonio Chef of the Year and the Texas Chef of the Year. Serving food each day from seven in the morning to three in the afternoon, the menu is based on classic dishes that evoke childhood memories. On the breakfast menu are dishes like steak and eggs, house-cured salmon, and buttermilk waffles and pancakes. For lunch, you can choose dishes such as a country pot roast, meatloaf, ham with mashed sweet potato, and beef cutlets with garden herbs.
Interior of Gristmill River Restaurant | Courtesy of Gristmill River Restaurant
Faust Brewing Company
The Faust Brewing Company is a brewpub and craft brewery that fosters the great German tradition of small-scale brewing and collective drinking. The brewing company is based in the Faust Hotel, in the center of New Braunfels, that dates back to 1929. You can sample the excellent signature brews along with imported and other American craft beers, and enjoy a bite to eat. The food is traditional bierkeller-style fare, with pretzels, barbecue pork, German nachos and kartoffelchips available. The signature beers from the Faust Company include their Golden Ale, Vinny’s ESB and a couple of good stouts, IPAs and lagers.
The Gristmill is a New Braunfels institution, founded in 1977, overlooking the Guadalupe River in the Gruene Historic District. The building itself is on the National Register of Historic Places — it’s the old boiler room, and all that’s left of the Gruene Cotton Mill. The restaurant has served celebrities like John Travolta, when he was filming Michael in Gruene, and several state senators and governors of Texas. The entrée courses on the menu include 10-ounce sirloins, Texan t-bone steaks, plenty of fresh fish like catfish, trout and tuna, as well as soups and salads.
Up at Dry Comal Creek on the Comal River, Naturally is a cafe with a big following in New Braunfels. The cakes, smoothies, and sandwiches are all prepped fresh, and there’s an emphasis on healthy, ethical ingredients. The sandwich menu includes chicken, chicken and bacon and roasted vegetables with zucchini, Havarti and goat’s cheese with a bit of avocado on top. The salads are just as packed with healthy produce — you can try a quinoa salad with zucchini, onion and apples, the Mariposa salad with cranberries, almonds, and goat’s cheese, or the Xochitl made with avocado, pecans and goat’s cheese.
The Huisache Grill was founded in 1994 in downtown New Braunfels in what was then a dilapidated building that had previously been at various times a Greek, Chinese and Mexican restaurant. Such has been the success of the Huisache Grill that the restaurant had to expand in 1999 and then again in 2007. The reviews are excellent and the grill has a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor for the quality of the contemporary American cuisine with a strong Texan flavor. The wine-list too, with French, German and Australian vintages, is well regarded. On the menu are dishes such as pecan-dusted pork tenderloins, 16-ounce rib eyes, port sautéed mushrooms, and chicken Yucatan.
Established in 2009 by a group of dedicated foodies, Gourmage is the place to go to stock up on artisanal cheese and gourmet produce. You can sit down in the restaurant and sample the wine and cheese plates served all day or take advantage of the lunch service on Mondays through Saturdays. Situated in downtown New Braunfels, Gourmage — a portmanteau word that combines fromage with gourmet — has a lunch menu featuring award-winning grilled cheese sandwiches. You can combine Havarti cheese and fresh bread with slices of roast beef, French onion soup or a bit of prosciutto. Or you can opt for a salad with goat’s cheese, pear and truffles, or the signature Gourmage sandwich of smoked turkey, Swiss cheese, tomato and lettuce.
Ranked by TripAdvisor as the second best food spot in New Braunfels, the Alpine Haus Restaurant serves up traditional Bavarian cuisine. The Alpine Haus is in downtown New Braunfels right opposite the historic Faust Hotel that’s now home to the Faust Brewing Company. On the menu are traditional German dishes like platters of bratwurst, weiswurst, and knackwurst, rinder goulash and rinder roulade, and wiener, jager, rahm or zigeuner schnitzels. There’s Black Forest gateau and apple strudel for dessert, and the list of imported German and Belgian beers is extensive and includes Chimay Premiere, one of the top-rated ales, by connoisseurs, in the world.
Gruene River Grill | Courtesy of Gruene River Grill
Mozie’s Bar and Grill
Mozie’s Bar and Grill is the perfect place to head to for a pre-show meal if you’re spending the night at the Gruene Hall — the historic 19th-century dance hall just across the street, and the oldest dance hall still in use in Texas. If you recognize the hall, you might have seen it in the movie Michael with John Travolta or seen the likes of Willie Nelson or Gregg Allman performing there. Mozie’s serves up classic American dishes and is famous for their sliders and hot dogs with jalapeño mustard. Plates of sliders, charbroiled cheeseburgers with mayo and pickles, and 10-ounce sirloin steaks with Hoffbrau lemon butter are all on the menu.
The Gruene River Grill serves up some of the best food in New Braunfels if the customer feedback is anything to go by. With a superb view of the Guadalupe River, the grill, in the Gruene District, has a very good wine list and a menu full of Texan classics given a contemporary revamp. On the wine list are Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand and Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Moscato vintages from Texan vineyards. On the food menu, you’ll find homemade soups, jalapeño crawfish chowder, lemon chicken, gorgonzola burgers, smoked pork tenderloins, seafood, including tilapia, salmon, and redfish, and Texan classics like rib eye and sirloin steaks.
This one is the place to head to in New Braunfels for the oenophiles among you. The Grapevine Wine Bar is another spot in the Gruene Historic District with a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor, and offers one of the finest selections of Texan wines anywhere. It’s essentially a tasting room where you can try out various wines and craft beers whilst enjoying a few tasty bites to accompany them. There’s a daily tasting menu, and you can eat and drink out on the patio or inside the tasting room and sample the beers and wines by the glass or the bottle. Indulge in Texan reds like Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and whites like Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Viognier.