A man walks up to a hotel concierge and says, “Where do you think is the best place to eat around here? Now, I don’t mean where you tell all the tourists to go. I mean the locals. Where is your favorite restaurant?” This is a clever question from an obviously well-seasoned traveler. One of the greatest things traveling has to offer is the chance to try new foods. WeTravel needs to eat, right? Here we’re going to show the tastiest places to try when traveling. Sometimes people look for that famous tourist trap and sometimes they want the secret where all the locals eat. We’ll give you one of each and you decide what your taste buds desire. Welcome to our new series: Delicious Destinations. Today we ask the question; if you could eat in Texas for one day, where would you go?
Tasting Texas Barbecue
If you are trying to taste the best of Texas in one day, stop right there, you are making a mistake. There’s a reason why Texas is one of the biggest states in the country, and I’m not just talking about geographically. Texas is home to some of the best food in the United States, and there are countless lists out there, from barbecue to burgers, claiming to have ranked all the places you need to try. You need at least a week to taste a fraction of what Texas calls their most mouth-watering eateries. But being a little more realistic, here is what we think of one the most famous tourist spots.
For the tourist trap, we have The Salt Lick. You’ve probably seen it featured on the Food Network, Travel Channel, or ANY barbecue special because it seems to be imperative to make some kind of mention of this restaurant. We call this a tourist trap simply for it’s fame and because many locals skip this spot to say that you can get far better barbecue elsewhere. Putting that aside, there’s definitely a reason why it is a world-renowned tourist destination. I’ll give you a few reasons why it won’t be a waste of time to eat here for your limited time in Texas.
It is most recognizable by it’s indoor smoke-pit and downright provocative images of juicy brisket. If you would like to know a more detailed version of our experience, read my Yelp review here. In this post I would like to list a few reasons why the Salt Lick showed why a tourist stop can be a wonderful part of your travels.
Reason for Tourist Trap 1: They can take the crowd on
If you Google “best barbecue in Texas” there will be a deluge of choices including Franklin Barbecue. That place may very well be both a local favorite and a tourist destination as many claim that its barbecue is even better than The Salt Lick. One downside, however, is that Franklin’s is as famous for the long line as much as the food—some waiting as long as four hours! There was even a BBQ fastpass invented by a 13-year-old who would wait in line for you, which grew so much publicity the establishment had to make a stern policy against. A paid line-waiter could hold a place for one person’s to-go order, not an entire group. As a passionate traveler, you have places to be, things to see and do; who in the world has time for all of that? This context of how long of a wait we’re talking about is why a tourist trap like The Salt Lick can be a good choice! They have a huge parking lot, outdoor seating area dedicated to waiting, and even have a two hour time-limit on how long a party can stay for the all-you-can-eat menu. The staff is extremely well-trained and efficient at keeping the wait time minimal, yet still offering fantastic service when finally seated. Although you can get alcohol there, I highly recommend taking advantage of their BYOB policy (bring your own beer) so that the wait is more enjoyable for your budget preference.
Reason for Tourist Trap 2: The food is going to be good
Even if some say it isn’t the absolute best barbecue Texas has to offer, there is a reason why the place receives so many outstanding reviews. I will admit I am not a barbecue connoiseur, but this place was everything I had ever imagined barbecue to be. The best things I had there were the smokey, spicy sausages, pulled pork sandwich, and peach cobbler. These items redefined what I thought each meant. You haven’t tasted sausage until you try it from The Salt Lick. Same goes for the barbecue pulled pork sandwich and the peach cobbler. I have found that the food most restaurants recommended to tourists are guaranteed to be at worst a good experience. I’ll take those odds.
Reason for Tourist Trap 3: There’s probably a stunning view
Another reason why certain places tend to be the highly recommended place to visit for tourists is there’s bound to be great scenery that showcases the city you’re visiting. What most don’t really mention about The Salt Lick is the stunning surrounding area. It is located amongst wine vineyards and rustic dirt roads bordered by lush, green ranches. It is a different view of Texas compared to the flat empty lands, busy cities, and oil fields much of the state’s terrain has to show. When you come home to tell friends and family about your Texas trip, you need a beautiful background for the photos. There were plenty of photo opportunities here.
We hope you enjoyed these reasons to go ahead and try that tourist trap. There is usually a reason why the place is so popular. However, it’s important to weigh out the pros and cons of the popular restaurants in terms of what you are looking for and your traveling needs. . On our next Dining Destinations post we’ll talk about a lesser known local favorite and why you might want to try that route for your next trip.