5 Lively Eateries Keeping The Texas Food Scene Exciting

It's easy to fall into a rut with your dining options, especially if you're in a state like Texas with tried and true traditions of BBQ and Tex-Mex. But there are many dining establishments offering exciting new options, from fusion cuisine to French classics or healthy alternatives. In no particular order, here are some restaurants to try in the Lone Star State.

Starting off the list at #1 is Patina Green Home and Market, located in the city of McKinney, about a half-hour north of Dallas. Dedicated to farm-to-table food, Patina Green offers a seasonal lunch menu, farm fresh produce, and house-made packaged foods to go, including sandwiches, soups, and salads.

Many kitchen and home items are also available for online ordering. These include wine, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as salsa, brownies, coffee, and other culinary favorites. Customers can purchase hand sanitizer, candles, and gift baskets, and the market has a variety of modern day and one-of-a-kind vintage pieces for the home.

In the #2 spot is Backstreet Cafe, a Houston institution for more than 35 years. The kitchen is under the direction of award-winning executive chef Hugo Ortega, who began his career at Backstreet as a dishwasher and busboy before graduating from Houston Community College's culinary program and later becoming executive chef and owner, along with wife Tracy Vaught.

The menu, which changes seasonally, strives to reflect the diversity of Houston, with Southern, Cajun, Creole, Hispanic and Asian influences, and including local and sustainable ingredients. Diners can enjoy the popular weekend brunch on the outdoor patio, treating themselves to breakfast favorites and specialties like the wood-grilled Hugo's burger.

Coming in at #3 is Snappy Salads. Started in 2006, this health-minded fast-casual chain now has more than a dozen locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Its menu features seasonal choices as well as nutrient-dense options, and gives customers the ability to design a custom salad prepared in minutes to their specifications.

Beyond its mission of creating satisfying, nutritious meals, Snappy Salads is dedicated to sustainably-sourced food and eco-loyal practices such as using paper straws and recycled building materials. In 2019, the company joined forces with MAD Greens, a Colorado-based salad-centric restaurant, to create Salad Collective, bringing together fast-casual concepts with a shared commitment to fresh, high-quality ingredients and attentive customer service.

For the #4 selection, we have The Peached Tortilla, a Southern-Asian fusion inspired award-winning food truck, full-service catering company, and brick and mortar restaurant. Founded by Eric Silverstein, a former litigator who decided to pursue a different career path and marry his passions of food and business, the company's trucks travel throughout Austin for lunch service, events and festivals.

The Burnet Road dine-in location offers creative tacos, shared plates, and desserts, as well as a wide selection of alcoholic beverages. The company also runs a full-service catering arm specializing in corporate parties, weddings, and social events, offering multiple menu styles and fare as fancy as the occasion requires.

Rounding out the list at #5 is Brasserie 19. Located in Houston, this fine-dining establishment offers a menu of classics like French onion soup and trout almondine, along with a raw bar featuring oysters on the half shell. For brunch, guests can try the quiche du jour, and brave souls have been known to sample escargot.

"Where Rose’s are d’ rigeur during the hot summer months and serious reds are quaffed by the River Oaks crowd that likes classic brasserie style French food. Plateaux de Fruits de Mer, Frisee Salad topped poached egg and lardon, Steak Frites, and the sautéed Dover Sole in a beurre noisette remain the perennial favorites."

The eatery is known for its wine list, and the wine room, located in the rear of the restaurant, can accommodate parties up to 50 for private dining events. Brasserie 19 has been recognized by publications such as Forbes, Eater, and the Houston Chronicle.