If there were a rite of passage into the Texan tribe, surely it would be the 72-ounce steak challenge at The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo. Could anything be bigger, or more Texan? To an Irishman raised on Western flicks like myself, the very name Amarillo conjures up images of tumbleweeds, rattlesnakes, and yodeling cowboys.
Some may only know Amarillo as a Panhandle cowboy town, and there’s certainly truth to that reputation. However, those who venture into the High Plains to visit Texas’ northernmost big city will find much more than boots and bulls.
Not many places have the distinction of inspiring a George Strait hit such as “Amarillo by Morning.”
Last fall, we asked Texas Highways readers to share their favorite places in the state for our Texas Top-40 Travel Destinations. And share you did—by phone, email, Facebook, and through many amazingly detailed letters. Thousands of TH readers helped to shape the final list, which we will divulge throughout 2014, Texas Highways’ 40th-anniversary year
Amarillo is a frequent stopover for travelers bound for Texas and beyond, so it’s fitting that the city is home to the Jack Sisemore Traveland RV Museum and its celebration of the history, spirit, and quintessential vehicle of the family road-trip vacation.
In the heart of Amarillo’s downtown, you might expect to find Tex-Mex and barbecue—but not Continental fare like English trifle, shepherd’s pie, and standing rib roast. But this Texas café has a decidedly European twist. The original owner, Jonathan Early, named the café On Her Majesty’s Service to honor his English roots. Three years later in 1992, restaurateur Mary Fuller bought the eatery, and now folks just call it OHMS Café.
In our September 2013 issue, Amarillo writer Beth Duke explores the story behind the city’s popular downtown restaurant OHMS, which offers a menu rich with dishes from France, England, Italy, and beyond. Though lots of people associate Amarillo with big steaks and Tex-Mex (and restaurants that specialize in those genres are abundant and excellent here), we’ve found a few places we’re eager to try next time we’re on a Panhandle adventure.
At first glance, Youngblood’s Stockyard Café in Amarillo appears to be your everyday rural coffee shop. If you spend a little time here, however, you realize that the unassuming café is the heart and soul of Amarillo’s legendary stockyards, where more than 300,000 head of livestock are bought and sold each year. And the food here is a cut above what you’d expect to find at a restaurant attached to an auction barn.