Texans are learning about the Great Texas Pieway.
Particularly in spring break traffic, U.S. 281 to San Antonio or the Hill Country is shorter and quicker than Interstate 35. And there’s pie.
The 66-year-old Blanco Bowling Club Cafe in Blanco belongs on any list of Texas’ historic pie shops, not only for the sky-high meringue but also for the price.
A small plate lunch with tea or coffee and a simple dessert costs less than $6. Or try a burger, chicken-fried steak or the huge, fresh-cut chicken tenders platter.
Save room for the pies, coconut meringue in particular. And take a peek behind the curtain in the back dining room to see the old nine-pin, hand-set bowling alley for the 200-member Blanco Bowling Club.
The cafe is open all day weekdays and Saturdays, for breakfast and lunch Sundays; 310 E. Fourth St., blancobowlingclub.com.
Two other time-honored pie stops on U.S. 281:
The Blue Bonnet Cafe in Marble Falls, established in 1929, is often ranked as Texas’ best small-town cafe; open all day weekdays and Saturdays, for breakfast and lunch Sundays at 211 U.S. 281; bluebonnetcafe.net./
The Koffee Kup Family Restaurant in Hico, which opened in 1968, also has tall meringue pies in about 12 flavors, some sugar-free; open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily at 300 W. Second St.; koffeekupfamilyrestaurant .com.
If you’re striking out from the city, consider a breakfast or pie stop at Weatherford Downtown Cafe, 101 W. Church St., weatherforddowntown cafe.com.
• In Fort Worth, a familiar plate-lunch and pie cafe has a new look.
Vickery Blvd. Cafe, marking its 40th anniversary, is nearly done with remodeling to a retro diner look
Former hotel chef Curtis James restored the old home-cooking cafe and now packs in crowds for lunch plates, burgers and weekend breakfasts with fresh-squeezed orange juice.
“I’ve just always liked the diner look — the red-and-white, the stainless steel and chrome,” James said. The old fixtures and furnishings dated back to when the cafe opened as Burdav’s.
Vickery Blvd. Cafe is open daily for breakfast and lunch; 4120 W. Vickery Blvd., vickerycafe.com.
• Slavko “Groma” Gromovic’s Chicago cooking is back.
The Feast Grill, 7660 McCart Ave., is the newest outpost for “Groma’s” sandwiches and Chicago dogs from his former Sweet Home Chicago and Wieners Take All restaurants.
The Feast will add Gromovic’s pizzas later. It’s open daily except Sundays; facebook.com/pages/ The-Feast-Grill.