Monday, May 19, 2008

Roanoke's Millionaire Club - The Texas Tavern

A trip to Roanoke would not be complete without a stop to the city's most unique and very popular restaurant THE TEXAS TAVERN. (Perhaps the smallest as well)

The Texas Tavern is the most photographed building in Roanoke.

The Texas Tavern is a favorite haunt for many, famous and infamous and regular everyday ordinary people. Within the walls of this tiny building sit an elite group set to solve world problems over a cup of buttermilk and a chili.

When Dad and I went to The Texas Tavern, Dad commented on how good the coffee was. Of course it is good, just like here at The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast, it is percolated! So when you go, don't skip a cup of coffee after your meal, you will really enjoy it.
As we sat at the counter on our bar stools, the first thing I noticed was the solid brass foot rest that runs the entire length of the counter was worn down to below half. Boy has this counter seen some business!

Here is some trivia for those who love trivia about The Texas Tavern:

  • Texas Tavern is open 24 hours per day-7 days per week, except Christmas.

  • The building has been painted approximately 65 times.

  • Approximately 1100 Tons of Pinto Beans have been consumed since 1930.

  • Approximately 1,260,000 pounds of hamburger meat have been consumed since 1930.

  • Approximately 9,460,000 hotdogs have been consumed since 1930.

  • Gerald Williams and Bill Ammons ate at the "Tavern" the day it opened and are still customers 74 years later.
A favorite sign or two at The Texas Tavern:

  • We seat 1,000 people-10 at a time.
  • We don't cash checks or play with bumblebees.

I have taken this information directly from their website and hope it brings many more interesting folks in to join Roanoke's Millionaire Club.

Famous customers over the years include the "3 Stooges", when in Lynchburg or Roanoke back in the vaudeville days, Glen Miller, the legendary band leader, Lynwood Holton, former Govenor of Virginia, M. Caldwell Butler, member of the House of Representatives, Clifton A. “Chip” Woodrum, Virginia House of Delegates and Vic Thomas of the same. John Payne (famous movie actor in the ‘40s and ‘50s) was a native Roanoker and “Tavern” fan.

Also, Billy Joe Burnette, a well known entertainer originally from Roanoke and a loyal “Tavern” customer, recently presented the Texas Tavern with an original platinum record of his hit recording “Teddy Bear”, a multi-million seller.
Also, very well respected and popular retired Judge Jim Brice has been a "Tavern" regular since the early '40's. When Debbie Reynolds was married to a Roanoker, she was a frequent customer.

Over the last 74 years many people from various walks of life have visited the Tavern. It is not unusual to observe a judge sitting on one stool having a conversation with some fellow just released from jail. Preachers sit next to sinners and “ladies of the evening” rub elbows with the country club set. Democrats speak to Republicans at the Texas Tavern!

Everyone is treated the same at the “Millionaires Club” for each customer is treated as if he is indeed a “millionaire”.

Many famous people have come in, eaten, and left without any fanfare. Always bring your camera, you never know who is coming next. The Texas Tavern is the most photographed building in Roanoke. (Yes, it was rumored that Elvis was seen at the Texas Tavern several nights ago). Also, at a recent (February 04) Alan Jackson concert, pictures of the Texas Tavern were featured as a background to loud cheers from his fans!

Amongst many other accolades Texas Tavern is a consistent winner in polls conducted by the Roanoker magazine in catagories such as "Best Late Night Dinner", "Best Chile", "Best Hotdog" and "Best Inexpensive Lunch".

Featured in Fodors travel guide for the Southern U.S.

Sample Texas Tavern's Menu:




Double Hamburger

Egg Sandwich

Cheeseburger (small)

Denver (Egg & Cheese)

Cheeseburger (large)

Ham Sandwich

Ham & Egg Sandwich

Ham & Cheese

Cheesy Ham & Egg



Chile (Bowl)

They also have a breakfast menu that draws in a regular crowd.

All photo credits are given to our dear friend Jim Scott who stopped by for a visit and then hightailed it back to the NW.

Life is too short for bad coffee... Shellie @ The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast in Rocky Mount Virginia