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Dining surprises in Amarillo

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.

Sava! Italiano, 4000 W. I-40; 806/418-8150. Grilled vegetables, Italian classics, inventive salads, and Italian-style tapas—plus something we’ve never seen before: A mozzarella bar, complete with several varieties of burrata, caprese, and carrozza! 

Crush Wine Bar & Deli, 701 S. Polk; 806/418-2011. A nice (and well-priced) selection of international and local wines and beer, plus simple tapas and small plates, such as marinated olives, hummus, and get this—peppercorn-gouda mac-n-cheese.

Youngblood’s Stockyard Café, 620 SW. 16th Avenue; 806/342-9411. This Amarillo mainstay moved in July from the city’s legendary stockyards to new digs downtown, but the menu hasn’t changed. Chef Tim Youngblood, who trained at the CIA in New York, still serves up classics like CFS, burgers, and topnotch sirloins—plus breakfast all day.

The Donut Stop, 1907 S. Georgia; 806/352-1362. Reviewers on Yelp! rave about abut the chewy, doughy texture of these made-from-scratch pillows of deliciousness, which are made before your eyes daily at this tiny family-run joint off I-40. The most popular donuts are glazed, with blueberry coming in at a close second. Monday-Saturday, The Donut Stop opens at 5:30 a.m. to start your morning off right; on Sundays you’ll have to wait until 6.

Arnold Burgers, 1611 S. Washington; 806/418-2699. Home of the 24-inch “Family Burger,” this Amarillo institution also offers CFS, corn dogs, veggie burgers, and sides like fried green tomatoes and tater tots. We’re dying to try to burger shaped like the state of Texas, which comes with steak-cut fries and will run you only $10.14.

Saigon Restaurant, 2909 W. I-40; 806/373-3456. Vietnamese-food fans tell us that Saigon Restaurant–which recently re-opened at this new location—is where to get your pho (soup) fix in the Panhandle. You’ll also find bun (noodle) bowls, crispy and rice-paper-wrapped spring rolls, and a variety of stir-fries.

Calico County Restaurant, 2410 Paramount; 806/358-7664. When you need a hearty breakfast, complete with country ham steak and eggs any way you want them, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better spot that Calico County. Lunch specials will run you $7.49 and rotate between home-cooking faves like CFS, catfish, and chicken strips. A caveat: Don’t fill up on the complimentary cinnamon rolls and biscuits!

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