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Chip’s Burger at Magnolia Table in Waco.
Magnolia Market

Where to Eat on the Road in Between Dallas and Austin

The drive’s best barbecue, kolaches, burgers, and more

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Chip’s Burger at Magnolia Table in Waco.
| Magnolia Market

Located just a few hours south of Dallas, Austin is a well-worn road trip destination. Whether in search of the city’s best eats, a trip to Austin City Limits, or looking to see the Longhorns play, Dallasites can find no shortage of reasons to hang out in Texas’ capitol city pretty much any time of year.

Upon arriving in Austin, the bounty of excellent food that awaits is endless. Driving along Interstate 35, the dining options aren’t quite as plentiful, but there are still plenty of spots for a solid lunch, dinner, or snack along the way during this three-hour drive.

Before making the drive, bookmark this guide to the best spots for kolaches, barbecue, burgers, and more between Dallas and Austin.

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Cork & Keg

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For dinner on the drive back from Austin, Cork and Keg is a must-stop. Enjoy a charcuterie board, followed by a fig and Hamon flatbread, and finish it with pork shanks. Wednesday nights bring half-off bottles of wine.

Farm Luck Soda Fountain & Dry Goods

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This soda shop on the courthouse square in Waxahachie serves up sandwiches, salads, and soup for the lunchtime crowd. The chicken salad and California club are the way to go and try the hand-mixed old-fashioned sodas. Do not leave until you get ice cream or banana pudding.

A dish holds a banana split with strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate ice cream, drizzled with chocolate sauce and topped with cherries.
A banana split from Waxahachie’s Farm Luck Soda Fountain and Dry Goods.
Farm Luck Soda Fountain & Dry Goods

Czech Stop

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This legendary gas station in West, TX, is home to what many people consider to be Texas’ finest kolaches. Whether or not that is true, the apricot, blueberry, and peach topping tucked into the yeasty dough will undoubtedly keep you satisfied all the way down I-35. 

Slovacek's West

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Located across the highway from Czech Stop, Slovacek’s is the clutch move when it comes to pre-Austin road trip fare. The selection of pastries and snacks is broader than Slovacek’s nearby competitor, and the kolaches are solid. 

Vitek's

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Known for its legendary “Gut Pak,” Vitek’s is the place to go if you’re trying to sleep for the rest of the drive. Topped with brisket, this pile of Fritos, cheese, beans, pickles, onions, jalapenos, and barbecue sauce is aptly named. If that’s a little indulgent, sandwiches, barbecue-stuffed baked potatoes, and nachos are available. 

Dark wood tables and chairs fill the foreground while a brick wall with two mounted TVs are in the background. Black lettering reads: Vitek’s Grocery Market.
A look inside Vitek’s in Waco.
Vitek’s

George's Restaurant & Catering

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This massive menu of Tex-Mex, burgers, sandwiches, and steaks at this Waco institution will satisfy everyone in your group, and everyone but the designated driver will appreciate George’s “Big O’s,” or beers and cocktails (like margaritas and bellinis) served in big ol’ 18-ounce glasses. 

Health Camp

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Baylor students and tourists alike make it a point to stop at this cheekily-named greasy spoon, where the double meat, double cheeseburgers are probably not doctor-approved. Pair yours with tater tots or onion rings, and save room for a scoop of custard in flavors like coconut cheesecake, root beer, and peanut butter.

Magnolia Table

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Also operated by Chip and Joanna Gaines, this breakfast-and-lunch restaurant is a must for shiplap obsessives. Order Joanna’s famed buttermilk biscuits or caramel cornflake french toast in the morning, or try the burger made with Texas’s own 44 Farms beef for lunch. Note: there will be a wait, so this isn’t a stop for anyone in a hurry. 

Old Jody's Restaurant

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This Temple, Texas spot is known for its chicken fried steak and burgers, and the steak comes recommended too. It’s not fancy, but it’s reliable.

Schoepf’s Old Time Pit BBQ

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This old-school barbecue joint has earned raves from plenty of publications, but the food speaks for itself. Stick with traditional brisket and sausage, or try Schoepf’s brisket queso nachos. If someone in the car isn’t a beef fan, Shoepf’s also serves up a damn fine chicken salad sandwich on a croissant. 

Robertson’s Hams The Choppin' Block

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Skip the sketchy convenience store sandwich in favor of a porcine lunch at Robertson’s. The sugar-cured hams prepared here grace countless holiday tables and taste equally delicious when sliced and slapped between two slices of bread. There’s also a decent selection of beef jerky, cheese, and plenty of snacks. 

Dale's Essenhaus

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Stop for some classic dishes at Dale’s Essenhaus in Georgetown. There’s a Biergarten with a limited food menu outside, and inside find homecooked meals, including a fried catfish dinner, German pork schnitzel, and chicken fried steak. Plus, it hosts karaoke and two-step nights from time to time.

A plate holds, clockwise: a dish with corn, a dish with barbecue sauce, barbecue chicken, greens, and raw onions and pickles.
A chicken plate at Dale’s Essenhaus.
Dale’s Essenhaus

Louie Mueller Barbecue

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It’s about 20 minutes out of the way, but do yourself a favor and make the detour to Taylor to try this legendary Hill Country barbecue joint. The gigantic smoked beef rib is a favorite, and the brisket can’t be beat. Note: Louie Mueller is only open Wednesday through Saturday. 

Daniel Krieger/Eater

URBAN Eat.Drink

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If you have to pause somewhere before Austin, this spot in Round Rock has a rooftop patio with views of downtown that almost lets you see all the way to your destination. There’s live music most nights and a cocktail menu with signature drinks. Try the trout salad for something a little different or the hot honey chicken sandwich to spice things up.

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Cork & Keg

For dinner on the drive back from Austin, Cork and Keg is a must-stop. Enjoy a charcuterie board, followed by a fig and Hamon flatbread, and finish it with pork shanks. Wednesday nights bring half-off bottles of wine.

Farm Luck Soda Fountain & Dry Goods

This soda shop on the courthouse square in Waxahachie serves up sandwiches, salads, and soup for the lunchtime crowd. The chicken salad and California club are the way to go and try the hand-mixed old-fashioned sodas. Do not leave until you get ice cream or banana pudding.

A dish holds a banana split with strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate ice cream, drizzled with chocolate sauce and topped with cherries.
A banana split from Waxahachie’s Farm Luck Soda Fountain and Dry Goods.
Farm Luck Soda Fountain & Dry Goods

Czech Stop

This legendary gas station in West, TX, is home to what many people consider to be Texas’ finest kolaches. Whether or not that is true, the apricot, blueberry, and peach topping tucked into the yeasty dough will undoubtedly keep you satisfied all the way down I-35. 

Slovacek's West

Located across the highway from Czech Stop, Slovacek’s is the clutch move when it comes to pre-Austin road trip fare. The selection of pastries and snacks is broader than Slovacek’s nearby competitor, and the kolaches are solid. 

Vitek's

Known for its legendary “Gut Pak,” Vitek’s is the place to go if you’re trying to sleep for the rest of the drive. Topped with brisket, this pile of Fritos, cheese, beans, pickles, onions, jalapenos, and barbecue sauce is aptly named. If that’s a little indulgent, sandwiches, barbecue-stuffed baked potatoes, and nachos are available. 

Dark wood tables and chairs fill the foreground while a brick wall with two mounted TVs are in the background. Black lettering reads: Vitek’s Grocery Market.
A look inside Vitek’s in Waco.
Vitek’s

George's Restaurant & Catering

This massive menu of Tex-Mex, burgers, sandwiches, and steaks at this Waco institution will satisfy everyone in your group, and everyone but the designated driver will appreciate George’s “Big O’s,” or beers and cocktails (like margaritas and bellinis) served in big ol’ 18-ounce glasses. 

Health Camp

Baylor students and tourists alike make it a point to stop at this cheekily-named greasy spoon, where the double meat, double cheeseburgers are probably not doctor-approved. Pair yours with tater tots or onion rings, and save room for a scoop of custard in flavors like coconut cheesecake, root beer, and peanut butter.

Magnolia Table

Also operated by Chip and Joanna Gaines, this breakfast-and-lunch restaurant is a must for shiplap obsessives. Order Joanna’s famed buttermilk biscuits or caramel cornflake french toast in the morning, or try the burger made with Texas’s own 44 Farms beef for lunch. Note: there will be a wait, so this isn’t a stop for anyone in a hurry. 

Old Jody's Restaurant

This Temple, Texas spot is known for its chicken fried steak and burgers, and the steak comes recommended too. It’s not fancy, but it’s reliable.

Schoepf’s Old Time Pit BBQ

This old-school barbecue joint has earned raves from plenty of publications, but the food speaks for itself. Stick with traditional brisket and sausage, or try Schoepf’s brisket queso nachos. If someone in the car isn’t a beef fan, Shoepf’s also serves up a damn fine chicken salad sandwich on a croissant. 

Robertson’s Hams The Choppin' Block

Skip the sketchy convenience store sandwich in favor of a porcine lunch at Robertson’s. The sugar-cured hams prepared here grace countless holiday tables and taste equally delicious when sliced and slapped between two slices of bread. There’s also a decent selection of beef jerky, cheese, and plenty of snacks. 

Dale's Essenhaus

Stop for some classic dishes at Dale’s Essenhaus in Georgetown. There’s a Biergarten with a limited food menu outside, and inside find homecooked meals, including a fried catfish dinner, German pork schnitzel, and chicken fried steak. Plus, it hosts karaoke and two-step nights from time to time.

A plate holds, clockwise: a dish with corn, a dish with barbecue sauce, barbecue chicken, greens, and raw onions and pickles.
A chicken plate at Dale’s Essenhaus.
Dale’s Essenhaus

Louie Mueller Barbecue

It’s about 20 minutes out of the way, but do yourself a favor and make the detour to Taylor to try this legendary Hill Country barbecue joint. The gigantic smoked beef rib is a favorite, and the brisket can’t be beat. Note: Louie Mueller is only open Wednesday through Saturday. 

Daniel Krieger/Eater

URBAN Eat.Drink

If you have to pause somewhere before Austin, this spot in Round Rock has a rooftop patio with views of downtown that almost lets you see all the way to your destination. There’s live music most nights and a cocktail menu with signature drinks. Try the trout salad for something a little different or the hot honey chicken sandwich to spice things up.

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