Friday, February 10, 2017

The Chess Club Cafe, Blanco, TX

      While staying in Blanco during our real estate escapade one cannot help but notice (and count) there are 21 eateries in a town of about 1800.  That seems to me to be a pretty steep ratio to plan on staying in business for long.  From Old 300 BBQ to Redbud Café to Blanco River Pizza to Bean n Biscuit to Blanco Bowling Club to Josie's Kitchen to Oak Creek Café just to name a few they've pretty much got it all covered.  Of course there is always Sonic, Dairy Queen, Subway, and Chicken Express.  I have to attribute this to being a high tourist area along the scenic Blanco River for the folks in Austin, New Braunfels, Waco, and San Antonio.  Summers here are a hive of activity. 
      When asking the locals the best place to eat lunch the response is nearly unanimous, The Chess Club Café.  Barely noticeable on the south side of town, it resembles a small house between Dollar General and Sonic.  The café is only open 8 a.m. till 2 p.m. Tuesday thru Sunday.  I was forewarned to arrive early enough for lunch or I would be parking along the US 281 highway.  Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars I would soon find out why. 
      Head Chef Steve Becker offers a very wide repertoire with his menu.  The lunch salad menu alone offers 12 choices.  There are Quesadillas, 2 types of Quiche, 11 types of hot and cold sandwiches, and 6 types of wraps.  There is also the Soup du jour (Creole Gumbo) w/half a sandwich for just $5.95.  There were 3 Daily Specials the day we dined there.  The breakfast menu is just too darned big to list.  I hear the Meat Lovers Quiche is delicious for any meal. 
      Barb and I put our daily real estate sojourn on hold this day so that we could arrive early enough to enjoy our lunch.  Parking concerns are legitimate as the entire gravel lot may accommodate 15 vehicles tops, maybe less if some of the those vehicles are the local ranchers big Ford farm trucks. 
It doesn't take long to discover the source of this cafe's anonymity.  It is a converted house, each room one of the originals complete with orginal wood floors and it's own charms while representing the new motif.  The main room also has French Doors so that you may dine outside on the patio if you choose when the weather permits. 
      We were seated immediately, in fact there were only about 8 other people when we arrived.  The main room has a 'homey' feel and we chose seats near the far large window.  After perusing the menu we both chose what we had originally come for, The Dagwood Sandwich.  When prepared right, it is one our favorites.   
     This sandwich certainly qualifies.  It comes on homemade, thick cut, still warm Texas Toast with layers of roast beef, ham, turkey, grilled peppers and onions, melted Swiss, Cheddar, and Provolone cheese.  It comes on a plate served with a side of warm tortilla chips and homemade Pico de Gallo, which is a local preference and a nice change of pace.  You may substitute fruit for the side.  This monster stands 3-4" thick still fitting even in my large mouth when attacked. 
      We both thoroughly enjoyed our lunch although Barb still needed a 'to go' box to save for later tonight after I am sacked out I'm sure.   Our total tab was $18.  The Chess Club Café serves a very good menu and I'm told that the Checkmate Sandwich is the best item on it.  The Soup du jour with Chicken or Tuna Salad Sandwiches are popular as well.  Service is very good as we were visited several times by two different servers and the chef to refill ice tea and answer any more questions that I inevitably had.  Chef Steve Becker said he is enjoying the cooler February weather as he has lived in nearly every state in the south and never gets used to the warm winters.  By the time we left the café was full.
      The café does not have a web presence, but they are a part of the Facebook Family and Yelp has an impressive array of other photos and numerous reviews to help prolong the drooling in your taste buds.  The Chess Club Café, definitely worth the visit. 

                                     "You don't have to be rich to travel well"
                                                                                Eugene Fodor

WiFi courtesy of Texas Department of Parks & Wildlife

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