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Galveston Dining…Off the Beaten Path

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The Farley Girls Cafe
The Farley Girls Cafe

by Karen Derr

Galveston is known for its great food—and not just seafood. Excellent restaurants dot the tourist-crowded Seawall, Harborside, the downtown Strand district, and let’s not forget the dining trifecta on 14th Street: Mosquito Cafe, Sunflower Bakery & Cafe, and The Original Mexican Cafe. These are all vacation destinations—delicious, casual, and affordable. But what foodie finds await you just off the beaten path? Venture off into Galveston’s historic side streets and discover these dining adventures tucked beside quaint historic homes.

Farley Girls Cafe
Brunch, lunch, and dinner.
These would be the new girls in town, except that their family started some of the most successful restaurants on the island, including The Spot. Locals rave that Farley Girls’ brunch is the place to be on Sundays. In a vintage corner storefront that was Schutte’s Corner for years, Farley Girls is a short walk to most of the popular Historic East End neighborhood and UTMB. The Duzich sisters, who named the restaurant after their mother’s maiden name, advertise “a little bit of everything.” How about a fried-chicken schnitzel on a waffle ($10) or a fried Oysters Rockefeller pizza ($16)? And mimosas. Yep, that’s a little bit of everything.
Farley Girls Cafe • 801 PostOffice Street
(409) 497-4454 • farleygirls.com

ShyKatZ Deli & Bakery
Breakfast and lunch, closed Sunday.
This quaint eatery opened about three years ago, offering breads, pies, and cakes, plus breakfast all day, deli sandwiches, and blue-plate specials daily. Recent specials have included chicken spaghetti, meatloaf, and chicken tostadas. Or how about a Tomator—grilled asiago cheese and tomatoes toasted on house-made jalapeno cheddar bread ($8).
ShyKatZ Deli & Bakery • 1528 Avenue L
(409) 770-0500 • shykatzdeli.com


Sonny’s Place

Lunch and dinner, closed Sunday and Monday.
Established in 1944, Sonny’s is advertised as “the oldest bar and grill in Galveston.” The owner, who is usually there to greet you, qualifies that by stating “. . .under the same ownership.” Nothing much has changed over the years at this charming neighborhood dive. The menu includes fried shrimp, burgers, and patty melts. The Artery Clogger is a chicken fried steak sandwich with ranch dressing, American and Swiss cheese, and bacon ($6.50). Pasta dishes, like Tex-Mex Pasta smothered in homemade chili, cheese, onions, and jalapenos, come in two sizes ($9.99 and $11.99).
Sonny’s Place 1206 19th Street  • (409) 763-9602

Di Bella’s
No lunch service on weekends.
Is it an Italian restaurant or a steak house? Whether you’re doing a business lunch or a special-occasion dinner, Di Bella’s offers intimate atmosphere and Italian comfort food. However, many patrons wouldn’t think of ordering anything but one of their ribeyes. Not a carnivore? Order the eggplant grinder ($6.95). This restaurant is an old standard and even advertises that “it’s where the locals eat.” Only since Ike have they started taking credit cards. The staff and management always make you feel like a regular. Reservations recommended for dinner.
Di Bella’s • 1902 31st Street • (409) 763-9036

Clary’s Seafood Restaurant
Dinner only.
The funky exterior harkens back to the ’70s when Clary’s was new, but don’t be fooled—this is a white-tablecloth establishment. Overlooking Offatts Bayou, this seafood and steak house is reminiscent of the classic Cajun restaurants of south Louisiana where hospitality and freshness are the standard. Fans insist you order the crab balls when you visit Clary’s, and don’t be in a rush. Clary Milburn, who hails from Opelousas, Louisiana, says his complimentary hot shrimp appetizer was offered for the grand opening thirty-seven years ago and he was never able to phase it out. It’s come to be expected by locals, and Clary continues to deliver. Most entrées are around $25.
Clary’s Seafood Restaurant • 8509 Teichman
(409) 740-0771


Oasis Juice Bar & Market
Open 10 to 4, closed Monday.
You may have seen this small storefront tucked among the antique stores on 25th, convenient to zip into for a juice or a smoothie. But did you know they have a full kitchen with daily specials and a healthy food market where each item has been thoughtfully chosen by owner and yogi Kathleen DiNatali? Try the Thursday special: buckwheat soba noodles with peanut ginger garlic sauce, veggies and tofu, and rice chips ($8, including drink). Vegans, rejoice!
Oasis Juice Bar and Market • 409 25th Street
(409) 762-8446 • oasisjuicebar.com

San Luis swim right up bar
San Luis swim right up bar

SWIM RIGHT UP: Lounging in luxury just got better with the San Luis Resort, Spa, and Conference Center’s H20 Pool and Bar. A first-of-its-kind, H20 is a sleek and stylish ultra lounge with plush seating, a swim-up bar, and private poolside cabanas. Sip on one of the bar’s specialty tropical martinis, or try the latest addition to the menu—La Paloma, a refreshing tequila and grapefruit cocktail. As the sun goes down, H20’s firepit sets just the right mood to turn a sun-filled day into a relaxing and romantic evening.
H20 Pool+Bar • 5222 Seawall Boulevard
(409) 744-1500 • h2ogalveston.com

WHAT’S FRESH IN GALVESTON?

The Gumbo Diner
Brand-new for summer 2013, Gumbo Diner is on the Seawall near 35th Street. The “diner” part of the name assures breakfast, lunch, and supper fare in a cozy spot with a view. “Gumbo” refers to the steam-kettle cooking that’s taking Galveston by storm. In a retro building that used to be a Dutch Kettle, Gumbo Diner gives a nod to classic diner food while bringing on the same dark, savory gumbo that previously could only be found at Little Daddy’s Gumbo Bar, its sister restaurant on Postoffice.
The Gumbo Diner • 3602 Seawall Blvd.
(409) 762-3232 • gumbodiner.com

Nonno Tony’s World Kitchen

Barely open a year, Nonno Tony’s (from the same folks who brought you Saltwater Grill in 1998) is fast becoming a landmark on the historic Pier 21. Try Nonno Tony’s when you want that same great food but with a change of atmosphere. Stroll along the harbor after dinner, then come back for dessert at the bar, which also has an impressive beer and wine list including Cakebread, Caymus, and Silver Oak by the glass.

Nonno Tony’s World Kitchen • Pier 21
(409) 621-5100 • nonnotonys.com

Benno’s on the Beach
Cajun lore says if you get to eat crawfish on the Fourth of July, it will be a very good year. Summer 2013 is off to a great start, and now blue crabs are in season. Benno does them four ways—boiled, garlic butter sautéed, batter fried, and Cajun fried. Benno’s offers casual dining with the best view on the Seawall.
Benno’s On The Beach • 1200 Seawall Blvd.
(409) 762-4621 • bennosofgalveston.com
Karen Derr is a Houston-area Realtor and the founder of Karen Derr Realty, now Boulevard Realty. She writes and speaks about home and small-business topics.

 

 

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Karen Derr

Karen Derr is a Houston-area Realtor and the founder of Boulevard Realty. She writes and speaks about home and small-business topics.

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