“Brownwood, Texas — a small town 2.5 hours Northwest of Austin that is full of hidden gems, incredible people, and tons of delicious eats.”
We couldn’t agree with Ms. Sorrel more! While The Turtle and Spirit of Texas Winery enjoy well-earned reputations as destinations unto themselves, Brownwood has a few hidden gems that locals LOVE! Don’t worry, you won’t have to go digging around too far deep in the heart of Texas—we’re happy to share the deets!
But first, coffee…
Common Grounds Coffeehouse & Deli
A love of food and family inspired Marco and Yesi Sandoval to open a coffee lounge meets deli in 2011. Nearly overnight, Common Grounds Coffeehouse + Deli became the locals’ favorite way to greet the day.
Coffee purists love ethically-sourced, fair trade, organic coffee that’s roasted right here in the Texas Hill Country. Beans are ground in-house daily for the freshest, most indulgent coffee. Linger over the morning paper or catch up on emails while enjoying coffee, espresso, and delicious frappeés on warm summer days. Not a coffee drinker? No problem! Common Grounds also offers silky smooth chocolate drinks, smoothies, Italian sodas and loose-leaf tea!
“I loved that Common Grounds Coffeehouse and a cute little section to lounge, breakfast tacos for on the go, and plenty of coffee flavors and types for any coffee lover.”
Jessica Serna, My Curly Adventures
Great coffee isn’t the only reason that the Sandavols won our hearts; they won our bellies, too. They offer a full menu of incredible food, including one of the best breakfast burritos we’ve ever had! Slightly chewy, handmade tortillas are the perfect vessel for brisket, cheese, beans and eggs. Top it with fresh Verde or red salsa and you’ll be in your own slice of breakfast heaven. On the lighter side, they also offer fresh salads and smoothies.
Hours: Monday to Friday, 6:30 am – 2:30 pm; Saturday 7:30 am – 1:30 pm, closed Sunday
When life gives you lemons…
Lemongrass Asian Cuisine
The subdued yellow plaster building at 1900 Coggins St looks has a hole-in-the-wall feel to it. But, don’t judge a kitchen by its stove cover. It’s the unassuming home of Lemongrass Asian Cuisine—which boasts world-class Asian food. Don’t believe us? Seriously, this is not your typical small-town Chinese stop! The proof is in its 5/5 rating and the wait times during rush hour.
Try their Cambodian noodle soup on Fridays, their specialty (and namesake) lemongrass chicken, pork or beef dishes with house sauce and fragrant jasmine rice, or their divine hot and sour soups! If your palate isn’t feeling adventurous, try the Philly cheesesteak rolls.
While you’re there, don’t miss their unique iced Milk teas, boba teas and slushies. For a sweet treat after your flavorful feast, indulge in fried Oreos or sno-cones with toppings like coconut jelly, lychee popping boba and condensed milk!
Hours: Monday to Thursday 11 am – 6 pm; Friday to Saturday 11 am – 5 pm; closed Sunday
Where there’s smoke, there’s barbecue…
If you happen into Smitty’s Bar-B-Que during lunchtime on just about any day that ends with “y,” you’re likely to meet half the town. Smitty’s never fails to give us our ‘cue fix. (Except for Sunday when the family-run operation gives the smokers a brief reprieve.) And it goes beyond local love. Smitty’s sausage sandwich has won over folks far and wide, even impressing Texas Monthly’s Daniel Vaughn (Texas’ foremost barbecue expert)!
“The sausage has some kick from red pepper and at least one green herb. A douse of the hot sauce and a squeeze of barbecue sauce are welcome partners to the salty, smoky meat. The slaw, finely chopped and plenty sweet like the KFC variety, will be hard to pass up too.”
Daniel Vaughn, Texas Monthly
Like virtually all of Texas’ great barbecue joints, the bright red smoke shop at 708 West Austin Avenue, started well before its fires were lit. It started with the blood, sweat and smoke of one man—Smith (aka Smitty) McArthur Jr. A mechanic by trade, Smitty spent his weekends barbecuing. After purchasing the lot in 1970, he built Smitty’s from the ground up.
Ever since he fired up the smoker in July 1972, he’s spent his years tweaking and adjusting his recipes. Though he passed in 2016, his son and daughter have maintained both their father’s delightful offerings as well as his tradition of evolution. For example, pecan wood has been added to Smitty’s mesquite technique giving a bit of depth to the smoked meats.
What do we order? The sausage sandwich. It’s a beautiful thing, really. A specialty house sausage handmade daily, smoked to perfection, sliced and served with white bread between. Add a dash (or three) of the famous house hot sauce and a proper slathering of Smitty’s barbecue sauce and you’ll know why we’ve been loyal for nearly a half-century.
Love the house hot sauce? You can buy the concoction—which blends jalapeño, lemon and pickle juice, and signature rub into much-beloved deliciousness—buy the gallon.
Hours: Monday to Friday 10:30 am – 7 pm; Saturday 10:30 am – 7:30 pm; closed Sunday
There you have it—locals fave off the beaten path spots! We hope to break bread at one of these hidden gems with you sometime soon!