Contributed bt Deena Thomas
(BASTROP) The sounds of blues, country, 60’s retro, Tejano and others will resonate at the Second Annual Bastrop Music Festival May 16-19 on Historic Downtown Main in Bastrop luring plenty of people to a variety of downtown bars and restaurants.
Featuring Bastrop’s own Peterson Brothers, who have recently opened on tour with Gary Clark, Jr. and Kenny Wayne Sheppard, and Chubby Knuckle Choir along with Reckless Kelly and about 40 other acts, the music festival will attract music enthusiasts who can satisfy their hunger with downtown eaters touting seafood, Mexican food, steaks, and Southern home-cooking. But what about those who are looking to cap off their Bastrop Music Festival experience with real Texas barbecue?
Well, don’t fret; no one has to drive to Austin, Lockhart, Luling, or Taylor for that fix. Just like the festival music, Bastrop won’t disappoint in the barbecue arena with its seven establishments to choose from. Here’s the rundown:
Open M-SAT 5 a.m.-2 p.m.
Yoli’s is the closest barbecue place to the Downtown Music Festival. Just several blocks from Main Street, a nice walk on a beautiful day, Yoli’s is one of the earliest to open, serving loaded breakfast tacos from their food trailer with a large open-air, covered picnic table area for seating. Yoli’s offers a daily lunch special of Mexican flair, but on Saturday’s the barbecue pit is fired up and the aroma of smokey mesquite lures barbecue patrons for their ribs, turkey legs, sausage or brisket plate served with potato salad, rice, pickles & onion. And to satisfy the sweet tooth, Yoli’s serves Tres Leches Cake. Owner Mario DeLeon said his cousin Arnold Martinez taught him the secret to great barbecue is low and slow mesquite fired, no-hurry barbecue. Yoli’s is always ready to cater, too.
Open TH-SUN 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Just up the road from Yoli’s heading towards Bastrop State Park on TX21 is Bastrop’s newest barbecue establishment, Fieldhouse Barbecue. Located in a 1942 Camp Swift structure that later was utilized as the Bastrop High School Erhard Stadium Fieldhouse, the brisket here is oak-wood fired and tended over sleepless nights. Besides the brisket, sausage, pork ribs, and chicken served with the standard sides made in house, barbecue lovers can order a side of cabbage at Fieldhouse Barbecue. This place is full of good conversation and offers a beer/wine bar, live music, and an extra room that can be reserved for groups.
Closed Tuesdays Open 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Cross the Colorado River, and you will find Billy’s Barbecue located in a small establishment by Dairy Queen. Now that Billy has slowed down after 37 years of barbecuing, he has turned over restaurant responsibilities to his son, daughter and a trusted group of employees, but Billy sits at his table during lunch hours visiting long-time patrons and new friends. In true Texas fashion, beautiful, glossy oak tables and deer mounts welcome those enjoying the brisket, fresh, homemade sausage, ribs, and chicken cooked on pits right in back of the restaurant. If one’s belly isn’t stuffed after the barbecue, homemade pies and banana pudding await those with a sweet tooth. Billy’s is a go-to for large takeout orders for those celebrating special occasions.
SOUTHSIDE MARKET & BARBEQUE
M-TH 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
F-S 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
The most visible barbecue establishment both from the road and the internet is Bastrop’s Southside Barbeque. This second location spinning off from Elgin Southside professes that it’s “the oldest joint in the state.” Started in 1882 by William J. Moon who delivered meat from a wagon and in 1886 established a storefront butcher shop, this barbecue restaurant also houses a meat market. With its large dining area, private room, and comfortable patio and drive-thru, Southside offers all kinds of barbecue but have spent 137 years specializing in smoked beef sausage. Their six flavors include original, 1882 hot beef, jalapeno cheddar, garlic, country, and Polish. Southside also offers oak-smoked, pepper beef jerky. Owner Bryan Bracewell said that their establishment is all about the people—the team, the guests, the community, and their vendors. They strive to offer honest, authentic, Central Texas BBQ filled with a lot of love offered at reasonable prices. Even after the Bastrop Music Fest, visitors to Southside can enjoy their barbecue by having items shipped straight from the pit by visiting Southside’s online store.
Photos courtesy of Southside Market & Barbeque
THE GAS STATION aka WE SLAUGHTER BARBECUE
Closes at 7 p.m.
If you’re looking for a uniquely Texas barbecue joint, then you’ve found it at The Gas Station on 304. More famous than the barbecue brisket and sausage, this is the site of the original gas station featured in the1974 Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie.
“The owners have taken a lot of time and pride and effort into restoring everything they could as well as they could,” Corey said. “We got the ‘We Slaughter Barbecue’ sign completely recreated. We’ve got the little chair and the wastebasket. We’ve got the red, white, and blue for the stools, for the chairs, and for the bench there. Right down to the red pole down there at the end. Very movie-specific. We have the Coke machine and the Indian oil pump that would go right out there. There’s a really iconic scene where Sally and her girlfriend are out here getting a soda and stuff, so it is very picture-perfect to screenshots of the movie.”
For those wanting to stay past eating at The Gas Station and braving what might have happened during the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the location houses 4 rustic cabins available for rent by overnight guests.
M-SAT 5 a.m.-7 p.m.
SUN 5 a.m.-3 p.m.
Farther down Hwy. 71 towards Austin is Fitties roadside barbecue with outdoor seating. Opened in 1981 with J.O. Gratten joining in 1997 assisted now by brothers Gary and Richard and sister-in-law Teri, this establishment is truly a family affair. Spices the Gratten’s use with their barbecue grow wild in Texas from family roots in Alabama. In addition to their yummy barbecue, Fitties is known for its breakfast tacos. Those out that way desiring something besides barbecue can pre-order entrees such as fried fish, meatloaf, burgers, and steaks.
T-F 5 a.m.-6 p.m.
SAT 5 a.m.-6 p.m.
SUN 5 a.m.-5 p.m.
For those traveling up and down Hwy. 71 between Bastrop and Austin, Benny’s may be the most convenient stop for a barbecue break. Spanning 6 generations and 3 families strong, Benny’s cooks up more than the typical barbecue menu. This is the place to get your barbecue turkey legs and yummy cold spicy corn side. And for the breakfast rush, Benny’s has some of the best-loaded breakfast tacos in the area. Just one last note---as you wrap up your music weekend in Bastrop after hitting all of the previously mentioned barbecue joints, Benny’s can easily satisfy your craving for Mexican food with their carnitas, carne guisada, and menudo.
Even if you aren’t destined for the Second Annual Bastrop Music Festival, drive out soon to beautiful Bastrop, home of the Lost Pines, and perform your own taste test of these unique barbecue establishments.
For more information on the Second Annual Bastrop Music Festival go to the following links: http://bastropmusicfestival.com/