Friends, I know that many of you are going to be making the trek out to lonely Lubbock, Texas this weekend to watch our beloved Horns take on the Red Raiders at Jones AT&T Stadium. I also realize that most of your probably don't make it out to Lubbock very often and believe your dining options are limited to the numerous chain establishments scattered along Loop 289. Never fear, Longhorns, Tastes of Texas is here to save your taste buds from the monotony and mediocrity of these corporate empires during your weekend excursion.
I know we've all taken a lot of jabs at Lubbock here at BON over the years, but as someone who lived there for three years, it isn't as bad as everyone's exaggerated claims (no really). While Lubbock certainly isn't a culinary oasis and doesn't have the options of Austin or Dallas, for it's size the local restaurant scene in Lubbock is very solid. I've always maintained that for almost any genre of food you're looking for, Lubbock has at least one really good-great place to fill your needs. Besides, if we're going to "Keep Austin Weird" by supporting local businesses, shouldn't we give other cities the same courtesy?
Las Brisas Southwest Steakhouse
One of the great aspects of Lubbock is that if you're looking for fine dining, you can find it at about 75% of the price of other cities. For example, that bone-in ribeye that cost you $50+ at Bob's in Dallas? $36 at Las Brisas. If you're looking for a high end steak house with a relatively relaxed atmosphere, Las Brisas is the place to go.
Double Nickel Steakhouse
Lisa West's Double Nickel Steak House is Lubbock's take on classic fine dining. Delicious food, classy atmosphere, and like Las Brisas, much more reasonably priced than big city steakhouses.
Let's say high end steak houses aren't your thing. No worries, Cagle has you covered. Cagle has an Old West atmosphere, and the steaks are cooked over mesquite. Located just outside of town, Cagle is what you expect when you think of a West Texas steakhouse.
The Triple J Chophouse and Brew Co.
Located in the Depot District (Lubbock's nightlife area), Triple J is a steakhouse with a really relaxed atmosphere. I personally believe the steaks are a little overpriced for the quality, but the rest of the menu is absolutely fantastic. Triple J is a restaurant and brewery; you won't be disappointed with the beers on tap.
Montelongo Mexican Restaurant
Montelongo is a fantastic hole in the wall restaurant located close to the industrial area of Lubbock. You order your food at the counter and are seated after. The menu is standard Mexican fare, but on Friday Montelongo has a Chicken Mole special that is served until they run out. It's so good that we had a group of friends that ate lunch there almost every Friday. Get there early. Thank me later.
Head here if you're looking for a regular "sit down" Mexican restaurant. Unlike Montelongo, Taqueria Jalisco has a widespread menu with a lot of specialty dishes as well as a full bar.
Jazz Louisiana Kitchen
Jazz was one of my personal favorites when I was in Lubbock. No, it's not as good as the Cajun food you'll find in NOLA, but it's very tasty. Great Poboys, and the seafood dishes are very reasonably priced.
Tom & Bingo's Hickory Pit Bar-B-Que
I can't recommend a BBQ joint that will blow you away like we're used to in the Hill Country, but Tom and Bingo's is really solid. They're the only Lubbock BBQ restaurant that made the last "Texas Monthly's Top 50." Tom and Bingo's only does three things, and they do them well: brisket sandwich, smoked ham sandwich, and smoked burger. The sandwiches are small, so be sure to try all three.
Not much to say here. Some of the best Thai food I've ever eaten. Just go.
Lubbock, surprisingly, has two very good sushi and hibachi restaurants, Hayashi and Ohana. I know some of you are probably leery about eating sushi in such a land locked area. I was too. That said, I've spoken with a manager at Hayashi, and they fly their fish in fresh every three days. Hayashi has better sushi; Ohana has better Hibachi.
Ohana Japanese Steakhouse
Decent Vietnamese cuisine. Head here to get your Pho fix.
La Diosa Cellars
Also located in the Depot District, La Diosa is a really cool wine and tapas bar with a unique atmosphere. Great place to grab a glass of wine after the game and listen to some live local music.
Cast Iron Grill
One of the best chicken fried steaks in town. Only open for breakfast and lunch. Be sure to tell them to put your homemade pie to the side when you order your entree, so they don't run out.
The Lubbock Chapter of the Texas Exes holds it's game watching events here. The restaurant is in an old house which gives the place a cozy feel.
A local favorite. Great place to grab a burger and a beer.
Owned by the same people as Caprock Cafe. Great restaurant for reasonably priced Italian. As a friend of mine succinctly put it, the menu looks like Lubbock got ahold of an Italian restaurant. In addition to your standard Italian fare, there are a lot of spicy specialty dishes that look slightly out of place. The Mafia Queso is to die for.
Head here if you're craving a calzone or a slice of pizza. The University location has better calzones, and the 50th St. location has better pizza.
I can't recommend this place enough. Delicious hand made pizzas, fresh ingredients, and artisan sodas. All of their ingredients are gluten free, if that's your thing.
Stella's Restaurant and Lounge
A reasonably priced Italian Bistro with a classy atmosphere.
The Funky Door
It's hard to really pinpoint what the Funky Door is. It's website claims that it's a fine dining establishment, but the concept suggest otherwise. In addition to delicious food, The Funky Door has wine dispensers located throughout the restaurant which allows you to to sample from a myriad of wines. Wine is dispensed from the machines in "taste," "half glass," and "full glass" sizes. This is a really great place if you're looking for a different experience.
Great place to have Sunday brunch. The lunch menu is reasonably priced, while the dinner menu gets up around "fine dining" prices.
Sri Maharaja Fine Indian Cuisine
Delicious Indian food with a very widespread menu and a full bar.
Very small hole in the wall Indian food restaurant. Every time I've been there the proprietor has been the only person on the waitstaff. Quality food, very relaxed atmosphere.
Lubbock Breakfast House
Chicken fried steak and eggs. 'Nuff said.
Edit: How on earth did I ever leave this one off?
Go. Seriously, just go. I'd put their burgers in my top five of all time.
I hope this guide aids all of you who are making the trip this weekend with your Lubbock dining experience. Those of you who know Lubbock well, be sure to let me know what I left out in the comments.
Finally, if you're leery about venturing into Lubbock's local eateries and want something a little closer to home, a Chuy's just recently opened on the South Loop.