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Written by Texas Highways

A signature "Lip Locker" burger sits on a plate

Korean food joints are popping up all over Texas, but when Kitok Moore opened her first and only restaurant in Waco in 1975, she wasn’t sure the townsfolk were ready for cuisine from her native land. She stuck to standard Texas diner fare and even hesitated calling the joint Kitok, keeping up the signage of previous tenant The Burger Factory during the transition.

The beer hall is full on a busy day at Krause's Cafe

At Krause’s Cafe and Biergarten in downtown New Braunfels, the writing’s on the wall. But rather than an ominous warning, the sausage recipe painted on the building’s exterior, along with murals of Krause family members, reflects New Braunfels’ German heritage and how this restaurant, established in the late 1930s, plays a starring role in that history.

Gabriele Rendon holds out a freshly-made raspa

The Raspas Dictionary
A handy guide to the terms you need to know when ordering the cold treat.

The surest sign that summer has arrived in the Rio Grande Valley is the line at the raspa stand stretching around the block. While the shaved-ice concoctions have caught on in cities across Texas, the Valley remains the undisputed mecca. At roadside stands in every city and town—no matter how small—you can find flavors that range from classic mango and creamy tres leches to extreme, Instagram-worthy delicacies topped with gummy bears, Oreos, Kool-Aid powder, or even pickles.

Interior of Interabang Books

A long-smoldering literary scene is catching fire in Dallas, with its book festivals, writing conferences, and poetry readings, not to mention a resident first lady in Laura Bush who founded both the Texas and National book festivals. But the dearth of independent bookstores in a city known for its vibrant retail scene always put a damper on its bookish aspirations—until now.

Chairs along the shoreline of Lake Granbury.

When Jim Leitch and his wife, Cathy Casey, opened the Inn on Lake Granbury in 2005, they couldn’t predict their new business would dovetail with the fresh energy now infusing Granbury. While the two are too modest to claim credit, their subtly sophisticated lodging helped shift the appeal of this lakeside destination just southwest of Dallas-Fort Worth.

Outside gathering area at Sawyer Yards

Just northwest of downtown Houston, a sprawling complex of factories and warehouses that once churned with heavy industry now fosters a different kind of production as the home of Sawyer Yards—quite possibly Texas’ largest concentration of working artists. And on the second Saturday of each month, the complex opens the doors of its 400 studios to give the public a taste of this burgeoning artistic epicenter in the city’s historic First Ward.

Klepper Camp Wood cairns at the quince

The Nueces River valley plummets from the Edwards Plateau with the abruptness of a summer squall. The topography plunges from dry to drenched when you cruise south from Rocksprings on State Highway 55, blank skies giving way to blue-green canopies of oaks and pecans as the road abandons the grassless flats for glimpses of resplendent waters that seem to chase canyon twilight into the brightness of day. Here, the Nueces River finds its voice: a convergence of forks, prongs, creeks, and springs that begin their last odyssey to the Gulf of Mexico as one.

Young women in festive wear.

A popular social media project to document the diversity and culture of Texas’ third-largest city is now a photography book.

Humans of San Antonio features images of people from all walks of life—including street dancers, homeless men and women, and artists—and includes quotes that tell deeply personal stories. Michael Cirlos, the photographer behind the project as well as the book’s author, writes in the introduction that he always started the conversation with a simple question: “What is one memory you never want to forget?”

Aerial view of the Sabine River cutting through the forest

There’s something about a river that evokes feelings of nostalgia. Perhaps it’s the tie to something ancient—the current that ripples over our feet carries the same water that sustained native tribes and beckoned early settlers to its shore. Maybe it’s that rivers remind us of the carefree way we played outdoors as children, before responsibilities and schedules stole the freedom and sense of wonder that marked our summer days. Beloved author John Graves considered time spent on a Texas river as an opportunity to reconnect with nature and ourselves. His journey down the Brazos, documented in 1960’s Goodbye to a River, continues to inspire many adventures, including one chronicled in this issue.

A treehouse on the Sabinal river

Your childhood dreams are coming true: an adults-only treehouse resort is now open in the Hill Country. Appropriately named Treehouse Utopia, the resort sprouted naturally: Owner Laurel Waters also owns and operates The Laurel Tree, a gourmet restaurant just down the road in Utopia, a community of 200 people about 80 miles west of San Antonio.

A restored gas station in Shamrock, Texas.

Members of the National Trust for Historic Preservation are hitting the road in hopes of saving one of the nation’s most iconic byways—Route 66.

The team will travel the route’s Texas stretch through Panhandle cities like Shamrock, McLean, and Amarillo from July 17-19. They’ll host meetups at various locations for anyone interested in the history of Route 66 and its iconic buildings.

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