A getaway on the Guadalupe boasts food, drink, and sunset views
It’s a typical Sunday afternoon at a most atypical Texas Hill Country haunt—Dave’s Place in Center Point. An eclectic clientele of bikers, couples, tourists, and families has gathered to watch sports on TV, chow down on burgers and barbecue, sip cold beer, and wander through this funky hangout overlooking the Guadalupe River. Out front, rabbits scamper through the grass and a lone peacock struts about, preening its rainbow plumage before fluttering onto the metal roof.
Proprietor David John eyes the unfolding scene from a high-backed bar stool in the corner, exhorting new arrivals to “come on in, get a beer, and look around.” With thinning white hair and full beard framing a weathered, tanned visage, David looks like a wayward seafarer on shore leave.
The scent of oak-and-mesquite-smoked ribs, chicken, and brisket wafts in from the blackened smoker in the nearby courtyard. Back in the kitchen, David’s wife, Shelley, flips burgers and keeps the fryer busy with onion rings, sweet-potato fries, catfish, frog legs and shrimp, and an array of veggies.
A small sign in front of Dave’s Place advertises not only David’s Backdoor Pottery shop and Shelley’s catering business, but also “beer and ice, food, live bait, tube rentals, a bird aviary, a botanical garden, and wheel-thrown pottery and casting classes.” But that only skims the surface of what you’ll find here. What started as a modest, wood-frame studio and greenhouse has morphed into a rambling retreat.
Today’s visitor can wander from the front patio and restaurant area into the enclosed botanical gardens, peruse a row of outdoor cages populated by more than 100 different kinds of birds, including colorful macaws, chickens, and pigeons, and continue out back to the jukebox/pool-table room, shaded hillside decks, and stairs leading to the riverbank.
From the August 2009 issue.