Recently I was able to finally make the trek out to Monument Cafe, which is a short drive north and just on the edge of downtown Georgetown. The characterful cafe, which launched in 1995 at the hands of Rusty Winkstern, quickly caught on with the locals in the town as one of the best eateries to grab a hearty bite and maybe mingle with the community a bit.
What started as a humble cafe grew into one of the institutions of Georgetown, attracting tourists, professionals, retirees and all sorts of hungry patrons in search of their famed dishes, like chicken-fried steak, sandwiches, migas and omelets.
One of the first things you notice walking up to the cafe is its classic diner feel, which was built that way intentionally to transport eaters back to that small-town Texas vibe. An almost art deco design is found throughout the restaurant, hinting at an earlier and simpler time. Monument Cafe moved to its current location in 2008, and has been serving up hundreds of fresh meals a day ever since.
When I visited, it was as if the entire town was there, which is usually a very good sign for the food we were about to order. We decided to sit at the counter as the restaurant was quickly filling up and ordered some fresh coffee and tea before taking a good look at the menu.
Home cooking featuring dishes locally sourced with fresh ingredients and friendly service made this meal a stand-out. Before I knew it, I was eyeing fresh pies like there was no tomorrow and forgetting any plans of ordering healthy food.
At times when I find myself in situations like these, it’s best to go with your gut, so after a few minutes of perusing the menu I was ready to dive right into one of the famous meals of the eatery — the chicken-fried steak and mashed potatoes.
“When in Rome,” I told myself as I sat back to enjoy the bustling scenery of Monument Cafe.
Warm, fresh flour biscuits are served to you in tiny iron skillets just like the old cowboys used to use. And everything from their onion rings to their fresh-squeezed juices are made in house from locally sourced ingredients. Even their beef is Kobe and Certified Angus, and most of their food is organic, from their milk to their veggies.
Many vegetables are grown in their very own garden. This emphasis on whole foods has attracted the attention of millions of eaters around the country, and even a Food Network show or two.
So when our food arrived, we were more than eager to chow down and finally get to the bottom of this secret of Georgetown. And they were right, the food is amazing and good to the last bite.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you have a chance to try the whole menu in addition to their daily specials. I was interested in trying some of their salads next time, which get rave reviews and do err on the healthier side of the food spectrum.
After your meal at the Monument Cafe, you can burn off a few calories with a bike ride around the the Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas. The bike rentals are free and you can explore Downtown Georgetown or the surrounding trails. There are nearly 9 miles of hike and bike trails that run along the North and South San Gabriel Rivers — and don’t miss a stop at the Blue Hole.
You can also take a tour of the Williamson County Courthouse or enjoy several other attractions in Downtown Georgetown.
Grab some breakfast or lunch at the Monument Cafe and spend the rest of the day exploring all the sites and sounds of Georgetown — it’s a beautiful place for a day trip just north of the Lake Travis area.