Where to eat, drink, hang out and hang your hat in Round Top, Texas
Turns out, not everything is bigger in Texas. With a population of 90, Round Top is one of the smallest cities in the Lone Star State. Twice a year, in spring and fall, however, more than 100,000 people descend on this tiny town for the Antiques Fair. Now in its 50th year, what started as a weekend has expanded into two weeks’ worth of shows with vendors lining Highway 237 for some 25 miles and into surrounding towns of Warrenton, Rutersville, Fayetteville, Carmine, Brenham and La Grange. Here’s a round-up of what you’ll find in and around Round Top.
WHERE TO STAY
Armando Round Top Houses
For more than 35 years, Armando has been a name in fine dining, renowned for the Houston-based Armandos Restaurant. Armando and Cinda Palacios now invite patrons to travel from River Oaks to Round Top where they have a trio of beautifully restored vacation homes. Dating back to the 1830s, the Winn is the oldest of the three and was the first property Armando purchased on a whim back in 1979. The circa 1880s Bybee Cottage was then acquired from the Bybee Foundation, an organization that preserves German immigrant heritage in Round Top. The Palacios kept the original patina of the place while lovingly adorning the old farmhouse with new amenities and luxe accessories. The Nest was once a 1930s home set in Houston’s West End and is now a midcentury modern, light-filled space with pop art dotting the walls. Choose from the three homes based on your style at roundtophouses.com
Black Bird Farm
A series of historic properties in nearby Fayetteville comprises the Black Bird Farm lodging experience. Here, you’ll find romantic well-appointed interiors in an early Americana style. Choose from accommodations at the Grand Fayette Hotel, Market Street Inn, Red & White Inn, Bird House, 1850 House, Sealy House or Blackbird Cabins. Herring Hall, the event space, hosts live performances. Take a tour online at blackbirdfarmtexas.com.
Old shipping containers have been transformed into artful accommodations at Flophouze. This super-cool concept by Matt White and his team, Recycling the Past, consists of six “funky little outposts,” known as flophouzes, all accented with salvaged materials, like old bowling alley countertops, and original art. Any of the décor you see in your flophouze is available for purchase – just inquire, and they’ll make you a deal. Each unit also comes equipped with Chemex coffeemakers, Mexican Cokes, Topo Chico, handpicked vinyl records and hammocks for kicking back and watching those famous Texas sunsets. If you like your flophouze so much you want to keep it, the company can custom-build one to your specifications and ship it to you anywhere in the world. Also on the property is the Round Top Ballroom. Outfitted with antiques, artifacts and odds and ends from Recycling the Past, it’s a casual space that has housed farm-to-table dinners, weddings, big parties and intimate gatherings. Learn more at flophouze.com or roundtopballroom.com.
Shane Brown of Big Daddy’s Antiques has opened his newly renovated, 2,600-SF 1890s Victorian farmhouse to overnight stays on VRBO. The Raleigh sleeps eight guests and comes complete with a full kitchen, four bedrooms and two bathrooms. The interior design is exceptional throughout with a mix of modern and antique, including a Paul Michael Company piece or two. To check availability, visit vrbo.com/931462.
This 20-acre compound features multiple overnight options on the property, including four main lodges and a well-appointed, air-conditioned teepee. Each dwelling houses hand-picked furnishings, paintings, books of poetry and other thoughtful touches. Outside, there’s plenty of room to roam and make new discoveries, like neon signs, a playground with zipline, hammocks, bathhouse, swimming pool and a fire pit. Formerly available by invite-only for friends-of-friends, it’s now a more inclusive space where all are welcome to tap into the spirit found here. It’s much more than a place to hang your hat. It’s heartfelt, soulful, mystical and intentional where cool people go and good vibes flow. Feast in the Field is hosted on March 26 and March 27 by Rancho Pillow. Purchase your ticket, or book your stay online at ranchopillow.com.
Round Top Inn
The history of this place is evident in its many existing structures, including the only remaining building from the state’s once thriving cigar industry. Three of the guest cottages are 1880s originals built by prominent Round Top resident Charles Henry Schiege of Schiege Cigar Factory. The property includes the gate house, a collection of farm houses, the little cottage, the loft and other rooms for rent. Explore it for yourself at roundtopinn.com.
The Vintage Round Top
Paige and Smoot Hull developed The Vintage Round Top in 2012 when they opened their first renovated cottage, No. 1450. The 2,400-SF home was designed with sustainability in mind and is comprised of reclaimed materials and vintage finds, creatively repurposed into light fixtures, furniture and decor. In 2016, they added a second 2,000-SF cottage named Boho into the mix. This home is designed with their signature modern vintage style, featuring upscale amenities and materials. Both properties are full home rentals that may be reserved together or separately. This summer, they will add two additional 400-SF cottages with another outdoor patio for games and lounging. In addition to lodging, the Hulls also host private parties, intimate rehearsal dinners or cocktail receptions, retreats and workshops year-round. Be inspired by their modern vintage aesthetic at thevintageroundtop.com where you will also find details on the property, events and shop.
The Junk Gypsies, Amie Sikes and Jolie Sikes-Smith, are opening up their guesthouse, previously available only to friends, like country singer Miranda Lambert, as an eight-room hotel called Wander Inn. Sign up for their newsletter to keep up with details on their progress at Gypsyville.com/wander-inn.
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
The Garden Co.’s Feed and Firewater
An outpost of the original Garden Co. Marketplace & Café in Schulenburg, Texas, Feed and Firewater brings fresh ingredients to the table for fun appetizers, bright salads, yummy soups and a variety of creative lunch and dinner options, all in a beautiful bistro-style setting. For a look at the menu, visit thegardencoandcafe.com.
New to Round Top is Mandito’s, a concept by Armando and Cinda Palacios of Armando’s in Houston, which will occupy the building at the “corner of Main and Main,” across from the town courthouse. Fresh margaritas and Tex-Mex will be served. The couple also presents Lulu’s, an Italian pizzeria at the former location of The Stone Cellar. Details to come. Check lulustx.com and manditos.com.
Market Hill Restaurant
More than a shopping destination, Market Hill is a fun place to eat, drink and enjoy yourself with friends. Open daily during the show, choose from a variety of lunch and dinner specials, including Paul’s famous homemade red sauce and pasta. For a peek inside Market Hill, visit markethillroundtop.com.
Prost on Block 29
An intimate wine bar and shop housed in a stone cottage that happens to be the oldest building in Round Top. Order by the glass, bottle or case (to take home with you), and choose from handmade cheeses, farm-to-table vegetables, tapenades and charcuterie. Sit inside at the bar or at a small bistro table, or hang out on the outdoor patio around the fire pit. Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Learn more at prostonblock29.com.
Texas’ oldest meadery, Rohan Meadery specializes in the recreation of mankind's oldest fermented libation - mead. The tasting room is a popular stop for visitors coming into Round Top. For hours and more info, visit rohanmeadery.com.
Royer’s Round Top Café and Pie Shop
Burgers, sandwiches and fresh-cut fries are some of the favorites here, but the real star of the show is the pie. Choose from apple, buttermilk, chocolate chip, pecan, cherry, strawberry rhubarb and more. Royer’s famous chicken dinner is served on Sunday from noon until they run out – the chicken is marinated for 24-hours in buttermilk and garlic then hand battered. It’s served family-style with mashed potato casserole and creamed corn. See the full menu at royersroundtopcafe.com.
WHAT TO DO
The Bugle BoyHoused in a World War II army barracks in La Grange, the Bugle Boy is an intimate concert hall booking Americana singer-songwriters as well as country, folk, blues and jazz bands on Friday and Saturday nights. Coffee, wine and beer are served. For a calendar of events, visit thebugleboy.org.
Festival Hill Concert Hall
Founded in 1971 by world renowned concert pianist James Dick, Festival Hill is a 210-acre campus containing multiple performance facilities, historic houses, gardens, parks and nature preserves. Visit festivalhill.org for events.
Round Top Family Library
Round Top is the smallest incorporated Texas town to have a public library. It’s a great resource, preserving local history and offering community programs for children and adults. The library consists of two buildings, the main library in the former Hope Lutheran Church, a 1925 gothic-style building, and the Rummel Haus, which serves as an activity center. Learn more at ilovetoread.org.
The Stone Cellar & Round Top Dance Hall
An authentic 1907 Texas dance hall has been relocated to this site. The sign on the door reads, “Must wear boots inside the hall at all times.” Live music on the weekends. The Stone Cellar serves pizza, cold beer and wine. To view the menu, visit stonecellarwines.com.