It’s not every day we have an iconic restaurant experience. Merriam-Webster defines iconic as something that is widely known and acknowledged especially for distinctive excellence. That’s pretty high praise and Granny D’s deserves it.
This past weekend I enjoyed my second visit to Granny’s place which is a must when we visit New Braunfels, TX. Some of you who are unfamiliar with Texas deserve a brief explanation.
NB is 4 and a half hours from Dallas but it might as well be four `hundred thousand light years away from the metroplex. There is absolutely nothing “metro” about New Braunfels. The big attraction is the Guadalupe River where tubing is the favorite pastime.
By November the summer crowds have vanished. The last 2 years we’ve traveled to town to be with our lifelong friends. We celebrate their German heritage by attending a beer swilling extravaganza called Wurstfest. I’ve never seen more lederhosen in one place. (in Texas, who knew?). The food is, well let’s just say it’s served mostly “on-a-stick” and should come with a Surgeon General’s warning. But who cares… What’s a couple of schnitzels, a piece of German chocolate cake and a pitcher or two of beer between friends?
It’s all fun and games until the next day when you wake up feeling like your head was run over by a semi. Knowing that a visit to Granny D’s is right around the corner is the only hope you have of a full recovery.
We rallied our group of 10 and arrived at Granny’s around 11:30am. As expected the place was packed. The basic condition of our group by this time was head pounding and hungry; A situation so desperate stabbing someone for a piece of bacon actually crossed my mind.
I went in to check on the wait. Just our luck the Jeep Club of America had arrived about 15 minutes before us. The bigger tables were mobbed with old overweight white guys who were wearing a path to the All You Can Eat Breakfast Bar.
The hostess, whose glistening face and grease stained t-shirt was my first clue she just came off the cook’s line to help out in the front. Her pleasant personality was enough for me to overlook her unkempt appearance. She politely informed me it would take about an hour to seat us all together. I love my friends, but to avoid a stabbing, I told her we’d break up the group which cut the wait in half.
Waits don’t bother me when you know the restaurant team is bustin it. Granny’s team was in overdrive. I retreated outside and the group gave me the thumbs up on the 30 minutes, in spite of the condition we were in. There was no doubt, if we left, there’d be no matching Granny’s home cooking.
Not a moment too soon the hostess let us know our tables were ready. The two tables were close together. At that point, nobody cared if they were on opposite sides of the restaurant. The stomach’s low fuel light was flashing red hours ago and the brain’s priority was not conversation.
Just a quick glance at the menu tells you the place is special. From The Big Dam Breakfast to The Button Snapper Plate to the Paw Paw Platter – you know these are combinations you can’t get elsewhere. I typically avoid “All You Can Eat” Breakfast Bars. However at Granny’s the food is so good it doesn’t sit. Every 10 minutes it was being restocked with food hot off the grill.
Our server, Christy, was warm, friendly and a “smiler”. While she’d only been at Granny’s for a short time, you could tell this wasn’t her first serving gig. Chances are she started waiting tables between her sophomore and junior year (in high school). We warned her that our group was a little rambunctious. She confidently informed us that waiting on us would be a walk in the park compared to taking care of her 6 kids! She didn’t appear to be a day over 25…
Christy knew we’d been waiting so she took our orders with a sense of urgency. Badda boom badda bing – within 10 minutes our food was served hot, fresh and delicious. Christy was attentive but not overbearing. The overall experience was an A+. I could not leave without meeting the matriarch! The woman in charge of the magic… I asked Christy if Granny would grace us with her presence.
It took her a while to break away from the kitchen. When she finally appeared we gave her a standing ovation. It was evident she was not used to that type of attention.
Granny was exactly what I expected. Strong willed and determined; tough yet tender-hearted. It is apparent the restaurant is her life. She told me the business cost her two husbands and it was worth it! I asked if she’d take me back to see the kitchen. It was a shoe box. With pride she told me about her back of the house team. Grumpy Pat was on the grill. She hadn’t cracked a smile since Nam but she is a heck of a broil cook. She was complimentary of another cook telling me she can turn around 10 orders in less than 20 minutes. There wasn’t a smidge of exaggeration in that statement. You just know Granny tells it like it is. When I said this appeared to be her A team she told me her very best cook was serving time but would be back in time for the 2017 summer season.
She acknowledged the toughness of the business. While she is meticulous with the food (each item prepared according to her recipes) you can tell it’s all about the people – her team and the guests. Last year she topped the million dollar mark in sales and they are on their way to eclipsing that mark in 2016. When I asked her what motivates her to work so hard and maintain such high standards her response was understated. “My reward is people telling me they like the food!”.
If you are ever in New Braunfels and you are looking for an iconic restaurant experience, please visit Granny D’s. Prepare to be swept off your feet!