Words by Melissa McGavock
Photography by Tori Townsend
As we well know by now, Granbury is a unique place to live. The landscape is somewhere between the hill country, the plains and West Texas, and our culture reflects that. Inside our town, you’ll find wine made locally from grapes harvested right here, much like the Texas Hill Country; you’ll find artisans of every medium, from potters and quilters, to painters and singers, you’ll find the finest ribeye to the most mouthwatering chicken fried steak even West Texas palettes would be proud of. All in the shadow of Comanche Peak, our little slice of earth has something for everyone.
Tourists land here every weekend looking to share in this experience, and create memories they’ll cherish for years to come. Some just stop in to enjoy a slower pace, searching for a break from the Metroplex’s endless hustle and bustle. What we’re finding more often than we used to, is that some of these tourists come to stay. For years our community has been been a sleepy retirement destination, however in these last years, Granbury is quickly becoming a destination for families to take root.
So many small towns are seemingly the last blips on the radar that still have mostly family owned businesses and local organizations, both charitable and educational, that support one another. Not all small communities are so lucky, many in a constant struggle between cost of living, resources and job availability. But, in this small group that is thriving, Granbury is no exception. And we still offer a unique experience to our citizens, like locally grown foods and drinks, local artisans, grocers, and business untouched by franchisement.
Granbury’s rich history is part of what makes this community special, but even more so are the people that cherish it, protect it and continue to cultivate it. They do this by creating a unique experience and supporting one another; alongside each other through thick and thin for the ultimate goal, to keep this place and its people thriving.
Among these people are Micky Shearon and Sam Houston. Micky is the President of the Granbury Theatre Company whose productions wow audiences all year long, and Sam Houston is the General Manager of The New Granbury Live, whose stage welcomes old favorites in addition to a bit of Texas history. Together, they realized the need to market already available night and weekend spots in Granbury. The promotion is called Granbury After Dark (www.facebook.com/granburyafterdark), you may have seen some of these signs in windows down at the square. With their intention starting as a dinner and cocktail spot for theatre goers, it grew to promoting these local eateries and entertainment venues as the place to go.
Par for the Granbury course, each of the venues offers a unique menu and/or art found nowhere else other than our slice of the earth. For example, Against the Grain art studio is not your typical craft experience. Sure they have paints and canvases, mosaic tools and trinkets, but Andrea and her family exclusively keep Granbury artists’ work for sale, alongside custom laser cut paintable and mosaicable wood objects, and set their in-house stage with beats of local musicians on the weekends. Against the Grain is meant to be a place where locals can meet, mingle and be inspired creatively by one another, professional artists or not. Customers can also enjoy wine specials from D’Vine Wine next door because you’re invited to bring their locally made wine to your art night. All things considered, you’re sure to walk away with a cool memory of this place.
Christina’s on the Square is a cozy, seasonally inspired restaurant converted from a tearoom boutique to an all out culinary experience. Take a coast to coast pop-up tour when you dine here as the owner, Gary Folger is from the northeast and his wife Katy, the west coast. The Folger family has found a way to harmonize their palettes and their workspace. Dedication inspired by love for family and community has guided them to build a work life balance that is proving to be fruitful. In addition to excellent eats, Gary keeps the wine list competitive with varietals that are both modern and vintage. As well, there’s always something delicious and provincial on tap. From Rahr IPA to Revolver Blood and Honey, Christina’s does a great job keeping it local and the entire experience unique.
Ketzler’s on the Square offers a German experience that even Fredericksburg goers would be appreciative of. The owners and devoted staff do an outstanding job to ensure everything is authentic, from schnitzel to German polka. The biergarten in the back is an unexpected surprise. It’s spacious and green, and the water feature and stringed lights make it especially romantic in the evening. It’s the perfect spot to take a break and enjoy some live accordion and an imported beer with friends and family.
Speaking of romance, just a couple doors down is 1890, Granbury’s high-end steakhouse experience. Jason Emerson and his team have taken a cue from the historic square here, an ode to the name 1890, upon entering one is transported back a century or so. You can almost see Stephen F. Austin in the corner with a scotch. Rustic luxury is in place here, from the exposed stone walls original to the facade of the building, to the leather bound furniture perfect for lounging and inducing the very best food coma. Tradition paired with top notch cuisine make this place truly memorable.
Last of the primary participants for nightlife in Granbury is Farina’s Winery and Cafe. The space is airy and quiet, and the patio is perfect for summer nights. Their piping hot flatbread pizzas are perfect for sharing with friends over a bottle of wine. Set in the northwest corner of the Square where things are typically serene, combined with the oversized mahogany bar and dimmed lights, this is the sweet spot for leisure.
Like most small business owners, these families of restaurateurs and artists wear many hats from chef, event planner, marketer, manager, host and even bartender – and don’t forget partner and parent. However, the commitment shown by those who run these local gems and support offered by locals like Sam Houston and Micky Shearon keep all the moving parts of this little town square thriving. Our only job is to sit back and enjoy Granbury after dark.