City Café

Review by: Michael Stern


In our never-ending search for the perfect chicken-fried steak, we hit a high standard at a table in the City Cafe. What a beautiful hunk of food! Gnarled and crusty, golden brown with a brittle crust and a thick ribbon of tender meat inside, this was an exemplary steak. Jane ordered the large version, which turned out not to be bigger, but rather, two full-size steaks! On the side were fine mashed potatoes and black-eyed peas and, of course, a bowl full of cream gravy.

The first thing you see when you enter is the pie case just below the cash register. Wowee! The meringues are spectacularly tall; ice box cakes also are extremely impressive, if not outrageously sized. Texas has so many other wonderful specialties, especially in this part of the state, that it’s easy to forget what a great pie lode it is. The City Cafe is a vivid reminder.

It is an ancient building on a raised-sidewalk street with a big awning out front for shade, and while it has been remodeled and modernized in recent years, its airy brick-walled dining rooms resonate with a century of history. Starting as a drug store, then a bakery and a barber shop, it became the Elgin Cafe in 1910. According to a little history lesson on the back of the menu, cowboys used to ride into town, tie up their horses on the dirt street outside, and come into the café for a cool beer.

What To Eat

Chicken Fried Steak


Thick-Cut Onion Rings




City Café Recipes


What do you think of City Café?

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Article’s & Guides Tagged Threadgill’s


By Jane and Michael Stern Orginally Published in 1994 Gourmet Magazine “A lot of good stuff started in 1933,” said Texas governor Ann Richards on the occasion of her...


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