When you think about typical Texas fare, the things that usually come to mind are steaks and barbecue and Tex-Mex. Such traditional Lone Star State food is readily available in Tyler but the city also ventures well beyond the state line with restaurants that specialize in French, Italian, Mediterranean and Latin cuisine.
Rick's On The Square
Since 1992, one of the most popular restaurants in town has been Rick’s On The Square. As the name suggests, Rick’s is located in the heart of downtown Tyler. And it has found a place in the hearts of city residents by offering something for everybody in terms of food and atmosphere.
On the plate, Rick’s specializes in steaks (the chipotle rib eye is a local fave), seafood, wine and house-made desserts. Menu items range from the basic burger to the exotic barbecued smoked-shark tacos.
As for the atmosphere, Rick’s is upscale enough to resemble a fine-dining experience, yet still casual enough for live music on the patio. Sports fans will enjoy watching the game on one of the patio’s three 46-inch flat-screen TVs, while those with the late-night munchies can order off the full menu until closing.
Kiepersol Estates Winery and B&B
One of the city’s true food destinations is Kiepersol Estates, which is a combination restaurant, winery, and bed and breakfast. The business casual restaurant features high-quality steaks and seafood. Tours of the winery and vineyard are available and include a visit to the tasting room.
A True Texas BBQ Joint
Of course, it wouldn’t be Texas without a good local barbecue joint, and Tyler's is Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q. Texas Monthly magazine has proclaimed Stanley’s to be one of the 50 best barbecue restaurants in the state.
Stanley’s has been family owned and operated since the 1950s. In addition to the standard pulled pork sandwich, the restaurant offers some interesting combinations such as the Brother-In-Law (grilled hot link, chopped beef and cheese) and the Big Swimmer (tilapia on a jalapeño-cheese sourdough bun, topped with guacamole).
Mediterranean and Mexican
For those who want to think outside the Texas box, Bernard Mediterranean Restaurant brings tastes of Italy and France to Tyler. This cozy eatery has such traditional Europeans dishes as escargot and lasagna Bolognese, as well as a selection of steaks to appease the local palate.
French pastries can be found at Chez Bazan, which specializes in cakes, pies, cookies and breads. The restaurant also creates some extravagant wedding cakes.
Don Juan’s Mexican Restaurant and Cantina has long been a Tyler staple. The dishes have more of a traditional Mexican flavor rather than the Americanized version of Mexican food. The tacos are particularly popular, especially on Wednesdays when they are sold for a dollar a piece.
Villa Montez is a casual family dining restaurant that brings the best of "Cocina Latina" Latin kitchen. The menu features the freshest ingredients and the sauces are made daily in house, and there are more than 100 entrees, appetizers, sandwiches and wraps to choose from.
Other Tyler favorites include The Potpourri House and its chicken crepes, Villa Montez for Latin food and Breakers for seafood.
Read about more great eats in Tyler, TX.