If you designed the diner of your dreams, and you happened to be from south-central Texas rather than, say, New York or the Midwest, the result would look a lot like AllGood Cafe. The food here adds gentle Texan touches to American classics, like the fat slices of roasted poblano pepper in the terrific grilled cheese sandwich, or the fact that all sandwiches come with a side of tortilla chips rather than fries. The chicken-fried steak, with enormous, crisp batter that sprawls across a whole takeout container, is advertised as the “world’s best.” We don’t know if that’s true, but to find better, you’d probably have to drive to some tiny town in the Hill Country.
Top pick: Either the fabulous chicken club sandwich, with crisp, peppery bacon and avocado, or literally any dish that comes with the restaurant’s smooth mashed potatoes and ultra-peppery gravy. Come to think of it, all our favorite dishes at AllGood have huge quantities of black pepper.
The downside: Some of the more overt attempts at Tex-Mex cooking are inconsistent; the salsas are plain, and only a native Texan will love the mystery-cheese queso.
Fun fact: The restaurant’s atmosphere, eclecticism and charm are best described by the slogan emblazoned across its website: “It’s like going to Austin, without having to go through Waco.”