Texas Chicken-Fried Steak

by Jane & Michael Stern

It seems logical that the Lone Star State’s favorite comfort food, chicken-fried steak, traces its heritage back to central European immigrant cooks who found themselves in Texas but without the fixin’s for a fine, tender cut of veal to make wiener schnitzel. Instead, they took a hunk of cow and beat the chaw out of it, then fried it up like southern-style chicken and served it with pan-dripping peppered milk gravy and mashed potatoes. This genealogical speculation is supported by the fact that the Hill Country, with its preponderance of German great-grandmas, is home of so many excellent chicken-fried steaks. In many other places throughout the Southwest, CFS means diner grub at its worst.


Monument Café

The Monument Café in Georgetown makes some of the best pies in Texas; meals that precede them (including breakfast) are masterful roadside-restaurant classics.


Hoover’s Cooking

One of the great enduring restaurants of Austin, Texas, Hoover's Cooking has a wide menu from smoke-cooked meats to classic southern sides & Cajun specialties.


Private: City Café

The City Cafe of Elgin, Texas, has a fine full menu, but its chicken fried steak is supreme: gnarled and crusty, golden brown with a brittle crust.

Must Eats
Pie , Yams

Hill Country Cupboard

Texas Hill Country is is home of some superb chicken-fried steaks; this spacious restaurant in Johnson City is a contender for the blue ribbon best.

Must Eats
Chicken Fried Steak , German Sausage Dinner, Ice Tea

Norma’s Cafe

For biscuits and gravy in the morning or square meals and mile-high pie, Norma's diner has been a Dallas favorite since the 1950s.


Stockyard Cafe

Located in the big sale barn at the Amarillo stockyards, this cafe is cowpunchers’ heaven with a mostly-steak menu plus honest hash-house breakfast.