So earlier in the week Corey and I decided to go on a BBQ adventure to Lockhart, TX for his birthday. Apparently, it’s the BBQ capital of Texas. I’m not sure who decided that but it might have something to do with the five various family owned BBQ businesses that have been around for ages.
Our first trip we tried Black’s Barbeque, probably the best advertised and most well-known BBQ joint in Lockhart. I have to say – it was pretty vanilla. We had the brisket and some ribs which were incredibly salty. I couldn’t actually finish mine. I was a little disappointed but the decor totally made up for it.
After eating dinner we made the decision to explore an antiques store on the corner across the street. They were just closing but we were still able to poke around. It reminded me of the antique variety malls back home in Plattsburgh, NY which made me really homesick. We decided to venture further into the town and realized there was a really amazing collection of small businesses. I had a really emotional reaction when we stumbled upon Magic Mirror Vintage.
We walked in and I saw racks on racks of colorful mod dresses and 50’s house coats. Even a giant light up Halloween witch lamp that was about 4 feet tall that I was OH so tempted to try and buy. I refrained, but this place was ~*!magical!*~ to me. It reawakened that feeling of excitement and wonder that I had when I first started on Lambs Ear Vintage so long ago.It made me hungry to have that feeling of excitement again. One woman was behind the counter and another sitting crossed legged on the floor working on what appeared to be some sort of craft project. They explained they were preparing for First Friday which was coming up at the end of the week and that we should come back.
Well come back we did.
After work, on Friday, Corey and I made our way back down to Lockhart eager to check out more businesses in the square. We had only scratched the surface! But first, Kreuz’s BBQ which was much more impressive and tastier than Black’s earlier in the week. Check out that smoker! We got there too late for there to be any brisket left but this sausage, god damn. I’ve never been excited for sausage. We left happy campers and headed into town.
First, we stumbled on a kid’s toy store with a rather large triceratops outside. It was full of candy and toys, tons of kids, and this weird “Spudsie” hot potato. I don’t really know what purpose it serves but I kind of want one for my home.
We continued past some empty storefronts, stopped at the corner and looked down a street off the square. I cracked a joke about a sign for a business called, “Risky Business” should obviously be a small town strip club. Alas; it was not. But on our trip down the street towards this imaginary strip club we came across another magical hole in the wall.
We had found Made for Walkin‘, another large antique store filled with beautiful costume jewelry, aisles of colorful cowboy boots, beautiful vintage furniture and some of the most incredible antique spurs I’ve ever seen. Truth be told, I’ve never actually seen spurs but these made my jaw drop! The owner told us all about First Friday’s and how we should come back later for some live music, beer, and queso!
We ventured outside again to make our way up the other end of the square and found ourselves exploring some other side streets. Again, more empty store fronts, but we unknowingly had head in the direction of Smitty’s Barbecue. It was closed but the smell of smoked meat lingered. I was regretting not going here, mostly because through the dark windows I could see gorgeous tin ceilings and the old rusted screen doors made it feel like you would go back in time if you walked through them.
We stopped next at Chaparral Coffee, a small little joint with open wooden shelves and tiny potted succulents dotting the walls. It felt especially small because of a musician setup in the tiny space. Turns out this group had THE BEST name “Marijuana Sweet Tooth“. We didn’t stay for the music but we did grab an eyed coffee which was SO good in the 90 degree plus heat.
Not going to lie, I can’t remember the name of the second place we went to next door but it appeared to be a combo florist and gift shop with mostly “Live. Laugh. Love.” esque goods for moms. I was initially going to step out until I saw some amazing embroidered tops on a rack in the middle of the store. Long story short I tried them on in a bathroom in their backroom and took them home with me. After talking with the owner at checkout she mentioned her daughter picks out all the clothing. I told the woman her daughter has excellent taste.
We walked around some more and explored other shops. A lingerie shop in a basement with ridiculously reasonable prices, another antique shop dotted with animal skulls, more abandoned side streets giving a glimpse back in time, and Rollfast Ranchwear where we serenaded by some rockabilly cowboy and cowgirl (turns out this was Dennis Jay and Teri Joyce) while a toddler lost their mind in front of us. We didn’t stay long but I was grinning ear to ear.
We needed to get back home for Randy, but I was feeling so reenergized and excited. It was the feeling of discovery and exploration that you so rarely get to experience these days with the internet. Normally you can research to death what businesses and events are happening wherever you travel but this truly was all an adventure. It reminded me a lot of Plattsburgh, NY but smaller and better variety. It made me want to work on Lambs Ear more and woke up that drive to want to have storefront someday.
Corey pointed out I need to work on having a 5 year plan to make it happen. I’m awful at long term planning and commitment so I know he’s right. I’d like to get better at that in the future and try to chronicle those attempts and successes here. Get my credit in order, start by selling at local markets here in Austin, then scope out some small town store front in an old Texas building where I can meet some cowboy ghosts.