Sometimes, fate and fortune work in your favor.
On a recent trip to Austin, we set out for a little Greek restaurant, excited to indulge our fondness for, well, everything Greek! You can imagine our disappointment when we arrived to find stacked chairs and dark lights behind locked doors. Naturally, we had failed to ask anyone at our hotel for a recommendation; we had all of our eggs in this basket with no Plan B. Shame on us.
With no word of mouth to rely on, we fired up a couple of smartphone apps to find something appetizing nearby and settled on what sounded like a decent Mexican restaurant. Off we went, not entirely sure of where we were going but trusting in our GPS apps, when tragedy struck again. When the app said, “turn here” it meant RIGHT here. Instead, we turned into the next driveway we saw… and we saw a whole bunch of people looking like they were having a great time on a huge patio in the shade of enormous pecan trees. There was a seating area with happy faces enjoying sweet tea and libations. There were a couple of shiny silver travel trailers, a stage, a bar, and lots and lots of cars. There was a sign that said, “Shady Grove – Recreation, Restaurant, Trailer Court.” Suddenly, Mexican was not on the menu.
We found a spot in the big, gravel lot, dodged a squirrel (okay…stopped to take pictures of a squirrel), and made our way into the shade. It’s not often that you make the decision to sit outside during a Texas summer, but we did. It was comfortable thanks to the shade and a few big fans, and a lack of empty tables told us that was the thing to do. The attentive staff, seeming to be a variety of college kids from nearby UT Austin, got us quickly seated and served with teas, waters and frosty adult beverages, and remained attentive throughout our stay. Once the menus were opened, though, trouble began.
The Dish Decisions
In all honesty, it’s nobody’s fault but mine. I mean, how is one supposed to choose between Truck Stop Meatloaf with Airstream Chili and Chipotle BBQ Baby Back Ribs? Fries? No. Green Chili Cheese Fries? Oh yes, please! What? Burgers? Chicken Fried Chicken? A comfort foodie meltdown was about to begin. Hatch Green Chili Burritos? Queso with pulled pork and guacamole? Holy moley!
This is where I decided bovines have the right idea: In a place like this, I need a second stomach! There was no way I would be able to eat the entire menu, much as I wanted to try, so I “settled” for the Green Chili Cheeseburger, along with samples from my dining companions’ selections, including Green Chili Grilled Chicken and the Pulled Pork Sandwich. Everything was savory and satisfying and made me wish I lived right next door. Portion sizes are pretty large at Shady Grove though, so it’s probably better that I don’t even live in the same county.
As good as the food was, what set Shady Grove apart for me was the atmosphere. The inside looked nice enough but the patio was fantastic. Rustic fencing, some antiques placed for show and decoration, and the “trailer court” really set the mood. (By the way – the restroom is the best ever travel trailer conversion!) Though right off the busy Barton Springs Road, you feel like you’re out in the country – in a good way: unhurried, comfortable, fun and relaxing. Much like the food.
We were sure fate had turned its back on us this day. Our good fortune showed us otherwise.
When You Go
You’ll find Shady Grove at 1624 Barton Springs Road. We chose patio seating, but there are tables indoors as well. They open daily at 11 for lunch, and stay open past 10pm for a late bite, drinks and entertainment – this is Austin, after all! Check hours on the Shady Grove site.
More from Texas
If you enjoyed this, you might want to see more from our Texas Roadtrip:
- Dining in the Center of Texas: Centerpoint Station, San Marcos (Review)
- Our Stay at the Sheraton Austin at the Capital
- For the Love of Fruitcake – the Collin Street Bakery
Our visit to Shady Grove, like this review, was neither solicited nor compensated. We owe it all to serendipity. Thank you, serendipity!