Located in one of North America’s most gorgeous areas, Lubbock, Texas, it is an oasis of arts, culture, wine production, and fine dining that one might not expect in the far west of Texas.
Texas is the fifth largest wine-producing state in the United States, and of all the wine grapes grown in Texas, nearly 90 percent are grown in and around Lubbock, I learned on a recent trip I hosted to Lubbock. (All opinions are my own.)
The High Plains of West Texas does the “dirty work” of growing grapes while Hill Country gets all the love. While Lubbock may be the Lone Star State’s unsung wine hero, it’s also a hot spot for the arts, with many fine art exhibits, a First Friday Art Trail, and classes and performances in the Lubbock Cultural District.
All these cultural and progressive strides in Lubbock have also created a vibrant dining scene ranging from hearty and meaty Texas barbecue to fine dining that rivals any big city in North America with dozens of great restaurants to try in Lubbock, Texas.
While exploring public art sculptures on the Texas Tech University campus, learning about rock and roll legend Buddy Holly at the Buddy Holly Center, or sipping wine at McPherson Cellars and Llano Estacado Winery, you’ll be in for a treat.
Here are six great restaurants to try in Lubbock, Texas.
A local favorite located in Cactus Alley Courtyard, Cochina La Sirena offers a unique selection of coastal cuisine infused with Latin flair.
Under the guidance of culinary director Kat Traxler, and Executive Chef Jessica Fultz, this unassuming and beautifully decorated restaurant excels in dishes like poblano french fries, quail empanadas, and the mouthwatering tequila salted pork chop, a double-bone steak served with a toaster. Potato, spicy cabbage, pear, persimmon compote and crunchy shallots.
I opted for the Peruvian marinated chicken, which is a giant marinated chicken quarter sandwiched between duck fat, French fries, vegetables and tomatoes with aji amarillo and aji verde sauce. However, Latin deliciousness is not limited to meat dishes; The restaurant also has vegan options like the vegan mushroom farro risotto, which features locally grown roasted mushrooms, pea tendrils, sweet peas, and more.
Of course, you’ll want to wash down all that good, spicy food with a cocktail. La Sirena is known for its Cactus water made with Cimarron Blanco Tequila and Topo Chico and a big squeeze of fresh lime juice; Or a variety of treks of tequila and mezcal to sample.
The Hibiscus Berry Margarita is also a popular cocktail, made with Cimarron Reposado Tequila, Naranja Liqueur, fresh lemon juice, homemade hibiscus syrup, salt and a sugar rim.
2. Cast iron grill
If you’ve never indulged in a giant piece of Jack Daniels-soaked pecan pie or coconut cream pie for breakfast, well, partner, did you really live? Not only is Cast Iron Grill known for its Western look and larger-than-life breakfast dishes, it’s also known for its pie (usually sold before the lunch rush).
Owner Theresa Stevens opened Cast Iron Grill in October 2007 with just 55 seats in an office building located at 18th, K. Five years later, the restaurant’s popularity had grown to 167 seats—and 24 workers working on top of each other—and in 2012, “Lord chose a different journey.” For CIG. We moved the CIG site and opened our doors on January 2, 2013, just four blocks from the old site,” said Theresa.
Teresa, who had not been a baker before the restaurant opened, quickly looked up her grandmother’s recipes and began making hundreds of pies for the restaurant herself. In 2011, I baked over 1,000 pies and the selections are still expanding.
The restaurant offers a full menu of burgers, sandwiches, salads and main dishes, but the breakfast is where the real magic shines. From fried steaks and eggs to huevos rancheros, The Cast Iron Grill is a local hot spot for breakfast and lunch.
Then there are the pancakes. Fresh pancakes vary every day, from the typical coconut cream and chocolate cream pancakes to Lubbock originals like Jack Daniels Pecan pie, Sawdust pie (surprise with this rich and sticky selection), and Blueberry Split Banana Pancakes.
You’ll never be satisfied with a pie for breakfast.
Pro tip: Get there early if you want pie. The selections are rotated every day, but the pancakes inevitably go on sale late in the morning.
3. Burkeley Hill
For lunch, indulge in a selection of food pairings with the subtle and bold tastes of Burklee Hill Vineyards at Burklee Hill Bistro & Tasting Room in downtown Lubbock.
Chace and Elizabeth Hill founded Burklee Hill Vineyards, and at our lunch we sampled their delicious menu with a selection of their very own wine. This brunch and brunch hot spot offers pizza (mini pizza), fresh salads (I recommend the Harvest Salad made with mixed greens, feta cheese, apple, leeks, cranberries, glazed pecans, and creamy lemon vinaigrette), a variety of sandwiches, wraps and shareables. , such as chickpeas, charcuterie, and artichoke shimmer (they taste better than they sound).
Highlights of the weekend dinner menu include a rack of herbed-crusted lamb and black Atlantic cod, while the brunch menu includes selections like French roasted bananas, shrimp, and grits.
Most of all, you’ll want to try wine from Burklee Hill.
Pro tip: If you plan to visit for dinner or lunch, book early. This popular restaurant fills up very quickly.
4. Ivy May
In June 2017, Texas Monthly Publishing her list of the 50 Best Texas Barbecue Joints That One Shouldn’t Miss Before They Die, Lubbock’s Evie Mae’s Pit BBQ ranks 9th.
It’s easy to see why. Founded by Arnis and Mallory Robbins, the wood-and-patterned, cow-decorated barbecue joint was actually born when Arnis was diagnosed with celiac disease. After barbecue became mainstream in the Robbins family (Arnis even built his own smokehouse), the couple began taking orders for barbecue and smoked meats.
The Robins family gained a frenzied following after moving to Lubbock, smashing grounds in their brick-and-mortar building in Lubbock in January of 2016, and the business has been hot ever since.
Evie Mae’s offers traditional barbecue favorites like pulled pork, brisket, smoked turkey, sausage, and ground beef, but the sides are just as good as this lean meat. Try jalapeno cornbread, spicy cheese grits, chili, or green beans.
Oh, come hungry. Evie Mae’s doesn’t skimp on the plus size, so wear your baggy pants and skip breakfast—you’ll satiate a lot of good Texas barbecues, and you might not be able to move later.
5. Ninety-two bakeries and cafes
I’ve never had a croissant so tender and crusty like that found at Ninety-Two Bakery & Cafe, one of Lubbock’s newest restaurants, inspired by the French countryside.
General Manager Drew Warren took his love of God and good food to Lubbock and imagined a bakery and café that would become “third place,” a cozy, comfortable place between your first place (home) or your second place (work). In addition to fresh pastries and bagels, barista-style coffee, and simple French-style breakfasts, Ninety-Two Bakery and Café is a greenery and softly lit French-style piece on the high plains.
I had the simple French breakfast, sampling freshly baked bread with whipped butter, a variety of jams, and even sweet butter. Other breakfast items that were too good to be missed include Croque Madame, which consists of toasted sourdough with ground mustard, blackened ham, Gruyère cheese, a boiled egg, and topped with a creamy bechamel sauce. The ever-popular avocado toast is made from sourdough toasted bread with herb ricotta, mashed avocado, watermelon, radish, arugula and freshly boiled local eggs.
This French bistro also serves brunch selections, including French onion soup, salads, and a variety of sandwiches.
If nothing else, you should definitely try the croissant. It is so good that it brings tears to the eyes.
The Nicolett is Chef Finn Walter’s new fine dining destination in Lubbock, and the elegant menu showcases the region’s natural ingredients. Having brought training with him from his time in Paris, Austin, Napa Valley, and Santa Fe, Walter opened Nicolette to honor the history and unique components of the West Texas region.
We dined privately that night in the outdoor greenhouse, a leafy, vine-covered historic space that shimmers with subtle lighting and intimate candles. Honestly, it was a magical outdoor space, but the restaurant itself is in an old house, so the whole place is intimate and lovely.
Let’s talk about the list. With appetizers, like elk tartare and dessert salad, the menu instantly pulls on the flavors of West Texas. The menu changes seasonally, but a typical “autumn menu” may include dishes such as breast tenderloin with Japanese pickles and black truffle, brioche-baked quail, or triple-seared Denver steak.
The sweets are high quality and delicious. Try roasted white chocolate made with juniper and winter fruit preserves, or triple-cream black truffle cheese Brillat-Savarin.
Nicolett also serves brunch with crab Benedict, Toast (French toast), and various lattes. For cocktails, you’ll want to try Autumn Gimlet made with Dripping Springs Artisan Gin (I’m a gin fanatic), cranberry-rosemary syrup, blood orange, and lime, or the Desert Margarita made with Desert Door Sotol, Ancho Reyes, habaneros and bitter lime.
If you have someone you want to impress, or just need a fancy night on the town, you’ll want to make a reservation ASAP at Nicolett.
Pro tip: Nicolett offers a special cocktail hour from 4-6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. No reservations needed, and you can enjoy a $7 house wine or a $5 barrel beer along with charcuterie from Antonelli in Austin.
Several Texas cities have noted restaurants that are worth visiting. It is considered: