Sunday, January 12, 2014
Werner's Restaurant (Shiner, TX)
Shiner isn't exactly a town known for fine cuisine, but it would have to do tonight. At 8:30pm on a Sunday, Werner's was the only restaurant we found open on our drive home aside from the usual cast of fast food joints. It was either this or Whataburger.
The ambiance at Werner's is about what you'd expect from a town this small. It's decorated with a motley assortment of animal mounts, including elk, pronghorn antelope, and buffalo. There really didn't seem to be any overall theme to the place. Most of their booths are ripped to shreds, so we opted for a table instead.
And no restaurant would be complete without a wishing well. This one is filled with pennies as well as bottle caps. I think a Shiner Bock cap is worth more luck than Abe Lincoln, but it was still weird. The fountain also took up half the space in the dining room, so it's bad on multiple levels. The animal mounts coupled with the water effects made this place seem more like a poor man's Cabela's rather than an eatery.
Oddly enough, there was no Shiner beer on tap (just bottled), so we started with some fried pickles for the table instead. For my entree, I picked their Sliced BBQ Beef Sandwich on French Bread, and added some Homemade Onion Rings to round things out.
I was expecting frozen pickles, but these actually looked homemade. There was a decent dusting of seasoning which gave them a very pleasant taste. The cornmeal batter was also good and crunchy. These were a really nice way to warm up my palate.
The onion rings could have used a touch more seasoning, but were otherwise tasty enough. The batter was both flaky and crisp, and they were certainly better than I anticipated.
The sandwich, however, was an utter disappointment in every way. Apparently what passes for "French bread" here is a toasted hotdog bun. And no, that's not an exaggeration - it was literally a hotdog bun, which I cast aside with disdain. The meat itself was completely coated with sauce, so there was no hope for finding a smoke ring. I did manage to find a few bits of crust peeking through the sauce. The bottled barbecue sauce was overly sweet and tasted really artificial. It was also the main downfall here, since that's all you could taste. The brisket was tender, but that's the only positive thing I can say.
I realize this probably wasn't the best place to look for barbecue, but their other food wasn't that outstanding either. My mom's ribeye (if you can call it that) was cut thinner than her accompanying chunks of zucchini, and my grandma's hamburger steak was surprisingly tough for ground beef. Actually, the best part of this meal was the fried pickle appetizer, but even they weren't good enough to bump Werner's beyond one star territory. Looks like we should have gone with Whataburger...
317 North Ave E
Shiner, TX 77984