The Hill Country Restaurants

The Hill Country is an extension of the great eating opportunities—the amazing Tex-Mex and barbecue—of San Antonio and Austin, with the addition of heavy German influences. Fredericksburg certainly corners the market for relatively authentic German fare, but Boerne, Comfort, New Braunfels, and everywhere in between serve decent schnitzel and wurst. Barbecue bests are spread all over: the Salt

Lick in Driftwood, Cooper's in Llano, and Cooper's in Mason (it's not a chain; they just happen to have the same name), and Rudy's Country Store in a number of locations between Austin and San Antonio, and in Leon Springs.

On the Hill Country backroads you're not going to get a whole lot of haute cuisine delivered by celebrity chefs, but you'd be surprised at some of the fine dining experiences you can have here. Two upscale restaurants to try in Fredericksburg are August E's and Rebecca's Table.

Most places are casual in the Hill Country. You may want to don your Sunday best for a few places, but you really don't need to. Boots and jeans are formal enough for the average restaurant, especially for men. You'll see plenty of local women wearing "country-chic" clothing, such as embroidered, tailored blazers, or swishy broomstick skirts—with boots, of course. In the summer heat you'll see many patrons wearing just about anything that keeps them cool.

Don't expect to dine too late into the evenings. With the exception of a few live-music bars and venues, most restaurants and cafés are finished serving by 9 or 10, especially during the week.

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