Out on Ranch Road 470, you would pass right through Tarpley and Mac & Ernie’s, if someone didn’t tell you they were there. Like many small towns in the Hill Country (and in Texas, in general), Tarpley consisted of one, small, non-descript general store, a similarly non-descript honky-tonk (which I didn’t even see, but Brett and Gil mentioned it), and Mac & Ernie’s, which is also so non-commercial, that you would easily cruise right by it, if someone hadn’t told you about it.
But, Mac & Ernie’s is a hidden gem. Gil told me…I hope I have this right…that either Mac or Ernie had been a chef at a 5-star restaurant in San Antonio, but decided to move out here. Lucky Tarpley and Bandera.
Mac & Ernie’s is an extremely low-key, modest, friendly establishment that you just have to go to. When you walk in, there is a chalkboard menu on the wall. You place your order at the counter at one end of the open-kitchen design. And if you want dessert, you’d better order it NOW…because it won’t be available later, if you wait.
Here are some snapshots of Mac & Ernie’s exterior, kitchen and chalkboard menu (notice the crossed-off items. I arrived at 5:30. I took the menu snapshot after I had my dinner):
I ordered the pork kabab with homemade pesto…a-MAZ-ing (and notice you are being served amazing food on Styrofoam plates. LOVE it!):
When I was ordering, I asked Paula, who took my order, if I should wait to order dessert. Paula informed me that there is one slice left of the one dessert being offered, so I’d better order it now, if I want it. Of course I took Paula’s advice!
Here is my dessert…chocolate-walnut pecan-pie brownie with fresh whipped cream! Out…of…this…world!
So…where are you going to go out for dinner, when you find yourself in Bandera?