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A gold tray holds a dark wood board, loaded with chocolates, fruits, a glass of port. Behind it, another port cocktail sits.
A tray of truffles and port for an evening treat at Stafford House Provisions in Denison.

How to Spend 24-Hours Eating and Drinking Around Lake Texoma

Lake life is popping around Texoma, and so is the food scene

Until recently, a day trip to Lake Texoma, located about an hour and a half north of Dallas, included serious meal prep and a well-packed picnic basket. But after landing the largest business deal in the state of Texas, Texoma, specifically the city of Denison, is abuzz with new spots, including a slew of food and drink options. Just drive north on 75, skip the pitstop, and try out a newly popping summer staycation destination.

A breakfast of barbecue that’s also a shopping stop

Start the day at Heritage Butchery & Barbecue, a hyper-local concept from a Local Yocal alumni offering a barbecue restaurant, butcher shop, and food market. Order the buttermilk biscuit egg sandwich with the house-made beef sausage (served with pepper jelly) and grab a bag of spicy Killer Pecans for later.

A browned biscuit holds sausage, cheese, and egg.
The buttermilk biscuit egg sandwich with house-made beef sausage at Heritage Butchery & Barbecue.
A fried chicken sandwich with homemade pickles is served on a tray with fries.
The chicken sandwich, served with homemade pickles at Heritage Butchery & Barbecue.

If you’re staying overnight in an VRBO that has a grill (check out Texas Tiny Cabins), fill your cooler here with wagyu and Angus steaks, local organic veggies, and a Bresnan Bread and Pastry sourdough boule for a home cookout. If you arrive after breakfast, order the smoked chicken sandwich, served with homemade pickles or the pork ribs with a side of chimichurri slaw.

A perfect day at the lake, plus a little kick

For a lake day full of beach vibes, sit on the deck at Bay at the Lake-Highport Marina overlooking the marina and share a brunch board with bacon-spinach quiche, fresh-baked muffins, cheese, and fruit. Stock up on to-go charcuterie boxes featuring SP Ranches’ summer sausage, chicken salad sandwiches, and lake-approved canned wines.

A brunch board features two pieces of spinach quiche, a muffin, grapes, strawberries, and pineapple on a butcher block board.
A brunch board from Bay at the Lake-Highport Marina.
A chicken salad sandwich on a croissant is served with lettuce and tomato in a paper wrapper.
A chicken salad sandwich from Bay at the Lake-Highport Marina.

Then mellow out with a mimosa or caffeinate at the Harbour House Coffee kiosk. Its Texas Summer cold brew shaken with heavy cream and vanilla tastes like melted ice cream.

A whiskey-filled afternoon and a catfish bite

After catching rays on the water, resist the temptation for an afternoon siesta. In lieu of a nap, book a whiskey tour and tasting at Ironroot Republic ( noon or 2 p.m. every Saturday). At the 2023 World Whiskies Awards, this family-owned distillery won World’s Best Finished Bourbon, World’s Best Corn Whiskey and co-owner, Jonathan Likarash was named Master Blender of the Year.

Across the street at Huck’s Catfish, eat a home-cooked meal that tastes like a hug from grandma. Go for the flaky catfish and crispy okra, and stay for the garlic slaw.

Make dinner Texas-casual and have a few brews

For an upscale, albeit Texas-casual, dinner dining experience, head to 34 Chophouse on Denison’s Main Street, where McKinney developer Don Day has once again bet big on a sleepy Downtown. The shrimp and cheesy grits drenched in barbecue sauce and Eisenhower Pot Roast piled high with onion strings are fan favorites. Wash it down with a Doc’s Old Fashioned, a thirst quencher composed of bourbon, bitters, amarena cherry, and a flamed orange twist or other signature cocktail.

A man holds an Old Fashioned out in a tumbler glass.
Doc’s Old Fashioned at 34 Chophouse includes amarena cherry and a flamed orange twist.

A locally brewed 903 Cerveza Por Favor from the moody back bar, Doc’s Lounge, will also do the trick. Alternatively, a few blocks away, sit on the patio at Frank & Lola’s Bohemian Tacos where the fried chicken tacos with pickled onions and sharp Shiner Bock queso served with seasoned chips are a must for summer in Texas.

Two chicken tacos with corn and pickled onions are served on a tray. Behind them are chips, queso, and a Topo Chico in the bottle.
Fried chicken tacos with pickled onions from Lola & Frank’s Bohemian Tacos.

Still drying out from the lake and looking for a more casual dinner? Grab a freshly ground burger from Hamms 54 Burgers + BBQ drive-through in Pottsboro, an outpost of the famed Hamm’s Meat + Market in downtown McKinney.

Stepping out into the night

For after-dinner drinks and dessert, step into the beautifully renovated Stafford House Provisions located in the historic Katy Depot. A dessert board of decadent truffles and port is a must, but don’t sleep on its selection of imported cheeses and a library of wines on tap with pay-by-the-ounce options for pricier varieties.

A bottle of wine sits open next to a glass on a small side table in a room full of leather, midcentury furniture.
Wine down at Stafford House Provisions.

For a bedtime snack, swing back over to Heritage Butchery & BBQ for a scoop of fire-roasted, smoked strawberry ice cream drizzled in Texas Hill Country Olive Oil or a slice of sweet potato pie served with a dollop of fennel-infused whipped cream.

A piece of sweet potato pie is caramelized and served with whipped cream.
Sweet potato pie served with fennel-infused whipped cream at Heritage Butchery & BBQ.

And finally, if your playlist is all country, go to Bay at the Lake, just a few miles from the water’s edge in Pottsboro. Listen to red dirt country performers such as Ray Wylie Hubbard and Wade Bowen in an intimate back porch setting. Enjoy a full bar, casual food, and a selection of California wines from Lodi while two-stepping the night away.

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