Lockhart has long been known as the barbecue capital of Texas. Way before Franklin was a whisper in the wind, Texans from all over have flocked to this city to get their carnivore on. There’s more than meets (or meats) the eye here though—a fascinating history, adorable shops, live music, golfing, hometown festivals and most importantly, fun.
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Barbecue is still the thing in Lockhart. Kreuz Market is arguably the godfather of the city’s barbecue scene. Established 1901 as a market and a smoked meats shop, it has weathered decades and still slings the ‘cue. Today, it's a market only by name, though you can order online and have it shipped nationwide or dine in at the cafeteria-style restaurant to try their famous meats. Smitty’s Market is housed in the original Kreuz Market building and the owners are related. Smitty’s has an immense smoking room with a seasoned oak fire always ablaze. Get some prime rib, brisket, smoked turkey breast, and jalapeno sausage while you’re on site and then pick up some meats to go for continuing the party at home. Probably the most famous from a name recognition standpoint is Black’s Barbecue. They’ve been featured in all the publications and on every TV show that claims to know the best BBQ. Their beef ribs are Flinstone-style and it pays to get there early enough to get your choice of meats.
For non-barbecue seekers, Loop & Lil’s Pizza serves up hand-tossed pizzas with creative ingredients, salads, beer, ciders and wine. It’s warm and inviting and their pizza of the week is cleverly named and often topical, like the Roast Likely to Succeed topped with roast beef, horseradish mayo, cheddar, dill and brown sugar caramelized onions. American fare (sandwiches, fried chicken) and fabulous desserts are on the menu at Market Street Cafe. Homestyle Mexican cooking with a local and cozy feel can be found at the family-owned and operated La Cantera. This restaurant is inspired by Doña Mari, who started selling homemade tortillas from home in Lockhart nearly a decade ago, and strives to maintain the same standard of fresh home cooking. The Eldorado is a café that serves a to-die-for Sunday brunch in the beautifully revived historic 1898 Brock Building. Opt for a decadent breakfast sandwich like the Brock steak with smoked ribeye, a fried egg and chimichurri sauce, then finish it off with one of their seasonal pastries. Downstairs, edgy bar and restaurant Little Trouble serves up American-style cuisine. Little Trouble is a one-of-a-kind experience and an ideal joint to buy rounds with friends or meet new people. Start with an order of Pan de Campo, a staple flatbread that's made-to-order, served with camp butter and brought to the table in individual cast iron skillets.
Bars & Beverages
Get your caffeine fix at Chaparral Coffee, a cool coffee shop and bodega with fantastic lattes, cold drinks and light bites. They’ve expanded their grocery items and you can pick up staples for a picnic around town as well. The Pearl is equal parts hole-in-the-wall and cocktail bar. Located right on the main drag, it’s a hometown bar with a wide selection of beer, solid wine, and craft cocktails. Check their live music schedule on the weekends and get an order of chicharron while you’re there. They get points for name alone but Load Off Fanny’s is a burger-and-beer bar with a sweet umbrella-shaded patio, cold beers, michelada setups and lots of bar food. Come here for entertainment too—family karaoke, blues jams and singer-songwriter nights. Lockhart Arts & Craft is an awesome mashup of craft beverages and crafty crafts. They have classes, meetups, board games (and game nights) plus special events.
Museums & Things to Do
Lockhart’s history is fascinating—stories of the Comanche people and other tribes of the Southern Great Plains, and pioneers and cattle ranchers making their livelihoods along the Chisholm Trail. Stop into the Caldwell County Museum housed in the old jail for pictures, stories, films and other historical information plus a tour of the actual jail cells. Lockhart’s Dr. Eugene Clark Library is the oldest continually operating library in the State of Texas. Built in 1899, this magnificent building hosts many community events including author readings, story walks and outdoor story time for kids. Step outside and get some fresh air at Lockhart State Park. Spend a nice day swimming in the on-site pool, drop a line in the water at Clear Fork Creek, and snap ‘grams at the waterfall. Enroll your kids in the exciting Junior Ranger Program where they can complete interactive activities to earn a special badge. There’s also a short but difficult hiking trail—the Persimmon—that’s worth lacing up some boots for. Harness the cowboy spirit in the Texas Hill Country during a guided horseback trail ride with Maverick Horseback Riding in Lockhart.
For the cutest and kitschiest stuff, head into Wendy R’s. Here, you'll find jewelry, crafts, textiles and art made by local artists and handpicked by Wendy herself. There are also books, toys and a smattering of just about everything. Buffalo Clover Florist sells gorgeous floral arrangements and gifts. Pick up a bouquet while snagging some cute earrings, an insulated cup, sunglasses, frocks, soaps and stylish hats. Main Street Market, a farmers market-style event, happens on the second Saturday of every month, starting back up in September and features locally grown produce, artisan foods, art, crafts and more.
One of Lockhart's noteworthy events is the Chisholm Trail Roundup, the city's largest annual festival celebrating their part of the historic Chisholm Trail. Expect three sun-drenched June days of barbecue cook offs, parades, live entertainment, a petting zoo, an old west gun fight, pig races, a carnival and more. For the past 32 years, the city transforms into an 1800s Christmas wonderland for A Dickens' Christmas, on the first Saturday in December. There’s an illuminated parade featuring the Ghosts of Christmas Past, taffy pullers, carolers, old fashioned toy carts and Victorian-era performances. Decidedly more in the present is the Texas Monthly BBQ Fest, an annual festival celebrating the best of smoked meats in the state of Texas with lots of food and fun events at local venues all over town.
Connect with the Lockhart Chamber of Commerce online to learn more about things to do in the Lockhart area.