Lake Whitney Restaurants
When you think about restaurants at Lake Whitney you’ve got to think outside the usual restaurant-row chains. In the same way that Lake Whitney lodging facilities are outside the LaQuinta box, so are the restaurants. The only chains anywhere near the lake are Sonic, McDonalds, Chicken Express, & Subway north of the town of Whitney on FM 933. But once you set aside the chain mentality, you will see that the area has ample choices.
Author’s note: Gary & I ran our own restaurant here at Arrowhead for sixteen years, so we tend to be a bit tough as restaurant critics. We will try to provide as honest an opinion as possible.
Let’s start with some basic restaurants:
Texas Great Country Cafe If your group has tough to please diners this may be the safest choice. It has an easy to find location at the intersection of FM933 and TX22 in Whitney. Don’t expect to be wow’ed, but do expect good cafe-style food at reasonable prices. The menu ranges from burgers and sandwiches to standard Texas fare like chicken-fried steak. A particular favorite is the the Buffalo Chicken Salad. Breakfast has hearty combos like the Starvin Marvin. Breakfast is served all day. I’m not a meringue pie lover, but if ever there was a place to become one, this would be it. They look pretty tasty. We recommend it for a quick dinner or lunch.
Double D Diner This tiny spot is easy to miss on Hwy 22 between Whitney and the dam, maybe that’s why they painted it bright red. Open for breakfast and lunch only, it is a labor of love. Lunch is pretty much whatever they want to cook that day. Breakfast is REALLY good. Omelets are loaded; pancakes are fluffy. Having been in the restaurant business, we are kind of hard to please when it comes to cleanliness. Double D is neat and clean and welcoming. We strongly recommend it for breakfast.
Four Seasons Bar & Grill Another restaurant that’s easy to overlook, this newcomer to the area is tucked away in a strip center halfway between Whitney and the dam, next to Drifters Bar. The menu is extensive and tasty. Try the fried avacados with secret sauce. The chicken-fried steak is crispy and the Mexican entrees full of flavor. Alcohol is available through a joint agreement with Drifters. Our recommendation is for family or adult dinner Wednesday-Saturday.
Bosque Resort Located on the west side of the Lake Whitney dam, this may be the most attractive-looking restaurant exterior in the lake area surrounding the lake. Because of that, and it’s prominent highway location and signage it attracts plenty of tourists during the lake season. The interior decor is a bit unnerving unless you really love game trophies. The menu is extensive with the usual “bar & grill” type fare. The restaurant is adjacent to their events center which books a wide range of events like horseshoe tournaments and outdoor concerts. If busy bar atmosphere is your thing then this may be your new favorite Lake Whitney favorite. Our recommendation is for game night munchies with a rowdy crowd.
The true measure of a Texas community lies in the ability of a select few residents to properly smoke and serve hunks of beef and pork.
Hooten Holler’n Convenience is the name of the game here. They are located at the intersection of TX22 and FM933 in Whitney. In addition to the usual meat fest found a Texas BBQ restaurant, Hooten Holler’n offers a few unusual choices like pulled pork tacos. Their sauce is tangy with just a hint of heat. They have added fried catfish to their Friday menu to round out the choices. We recommend them for carryout group feeds and for the Friday night catfish.
Bunkhouse BBQ, Clifton You know that to get the really good BBQ you sometimes have to drive a little out of your way. If a trip to Clifton is in your Lake Whitney travel plans, Bunkhouse is the place to stop for lunch. Platter are heaped high, sandwiches too thick to wrap your mouth around. The sauce is a perfect blend of flavors to complement the smokey meat. No reason to go here for anything but the meat, whether it’s for lunch or dinner.
Hard Eight This one is definitely outside the immediate area, but worthy of inclusion here on the basis that we hope you are planning an extended stay, centering your trip here at Lake Whitney.
Hard Eight offers the ultimate in Texas BBQ experiences. Beginning with the outdoor line where they pick your meat directly from the pits. You then step inside for sides and family-style seating. We recommend for a lunch or dinner on a Lake Whitney road trip that might include a visit to Fossil Rim Wildlife Park or one of the many festivals held in nearby Hico.
Tres Hermanos Good food, fast service, friendly atmosphere. This is where the locals eat. There are other choices in the area for Mexican food, but Tres has become a standard choice for both residents and visitors of the area. We recommend for family dinner or Sunday lunch. Our favorite dish: deep fried beef flautas. Out. Of. This. World. Good. Runner up are the chicken fajita quesadillas.
Pizza & Italian Restaurants
Bella Vita Huge pizzas built on fresh crusts and heaped with toppings. The prices are perfect for feeding a hungry lake crowd. Located on TX22 in Whitney, Bella Vita is one of several Lake Whitney restaurant surprises. Not only is the pizza noteworthy, the pasta dishes are what you would expect from a top end Italian restaurant anywhere. Sauces are perfectly seasoned, cheese is fresh, and the choice of dishes is enough to please almost any Italian food lover. We recommend for either carryout pizza or for a quiet dinner.
As we said before,
Lake Whitney Restaurants
come and go, and we will continue to keep up with the best the area has to offer. Let us know what your favorite eateries are in the Lake Whitney area.
What do we mean when we say “center yourself” here?
We mean physically that a Lake Whitney vacation can be the center point of your travel plans. You can stay here at the lake, enjoying the spectacular scenery, perhaps participate in a few water sports, enjoy our eclectic assortment of restaurants and STILL take the kids to a water park, a spectacular zoo, a world renowned wildlife park, enjoy some shopping, visit a winery or two, and visit some of the state’s little known museums (Dr. Pepper, Texas Ranger, Bosque Museum). You can even visit all that Dallas and Fort Worth have to offer and return to the peacefulness of the lake at the end of each day.
Here are a few other ideas for things to do in the area surrounding Lake Whitney.
- Take scenic drives throughout the area, enjoying wildflowers and wildlife
- Shop for antiques in Clifton, Meridian, Whitney, & Hillsboro
- Drive to Waco to see the new Baylor Stadium being built, just driving through the Baylor campus is a treat if you haven’t ever seen it.
- Visit two of the most beautiful stone courthouses in all of Texas.
- Play disc golf along the Brazos River.
- See a traditional craft village, complete with blacksmith and gristmill demonstrations at Homestead Heritage.
We also mean that the lake is the kind of place that allows you to escape your everyday life and mentally re-center yourself. Spend the days staring at the water and the nights staring at the stars. Play games with your kids or take a walk with your best bud. Bring a book, bring your favorite outdoor equipment, or bring nothing but a change of clothes.
Research has shown repeatedly that time away from our regular routine and from work in order to re-charge our batteries. A recent article on WedMD explains the importance of downtime in our lives. Lack of vacation or weekend escape time can lead to higher stress levels, sleep disorders, and even clinical depression. When you jokingly tell co-workers you need a vacation, you’re not far from the truth. The need is real, not imagined. The great news according to the experts in the article is that quantity is less important than quality. Small amounts of time spent in relaxation mode can greatly reduce the stress you feel from your normal life.
Lake Whitney offers options for small getaways, and it’s closer than you think.
Distance between Lake Whitney and Texas cities:
- 77 miles from Dallas area
- 58 miles from Ft. Worth
- 36 miles from Waco
- 137 miles from Austin
Start your escape to the lake by instantly checking the availability of a Lake Whitney vacation.
So you’re thinking about a trip to the lake. Maybe you’re looking for a spot to camp or maybe you want to rent a boat. Maybe you’re a “lake person,” maybe not. Maybe you just need a break from the craziness of the life you live. Whatever the reason is that brought you to the ah-ha moment when you said to yourself, “Let’s go to the lake this weekend,” you need information to get the ball rolling.
Lake Whitney Guru is here to help. Bookmark this page before the boss walks in and you forget where you were.
So here are the absolute most important things you have to know about Lake Whitney BEFORE you make your travel plan:
- Lake Whitney is a flood control lake, originally built in the 50’s to keep Waco from flooding. It’s really good at that, but it’s also one of the least crowded lakes you will find in Texas that lies within 100 miles of a major metropolitan area. There are lakes with smaller crowds, but those tend to fall into 2 categories: either they have more mud than water, or are two+ hours from civilized society. The lake at normal level is over 100 feet deep, plus it has a 40′ flood pool. Without getting all hydro-technical, what that means is that the water level on Lake Whitney rises and falls pretty dramatically, so nothing sits at the edge of the lake. Don’t picture cabins sitting at the water’s edge here. What Lake Whitney lacks in edgewater property, it more than makes up for in scenic beauty and wildlife habitat in that zone where the water is allowed to rise and fall.
- Lake Whitney has 9 resort lodging facilities and 1 B&B on the lake. Eight of the resorts are “Mom & Pop” type operations; one is a golf development. These resorts are ideal for either weekend or vacation stays at the lake. They all offer direct access to the lake, services like boat rentals, supplies, and ice. Most have swimming pools and other on-site attractions to keep you entertained without even leaving the property. There are no chain hotels within 18 miles of the lake. There are a handful of lodging choices near (not on) the lake, and an assortment of privately owned houses that are rented out. They may or may not have lake access. The private homes are unregulated by either county government. (The fact that the lake lies along the boundary between Hill and Bosque Counties is a bonus tidbit that you may not have known.)
- Lake Whitney has 1 state park and 13 parks operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The interesting thing here is that even the Lake Whitney State Park sits on Corps land that the state leases. These parks are scattered along the entire length of the lake. The parks offer everything from hiking trails to campsites to areas for picnicking and swimming. There are a few primitive “screen shelters” in some parks, but no cabins or lodging with plumbing or air conditioning.
- There are 3 official marinas. These are located on land leased from the Corps of Engineers. They offer long-term boat slips; occasionally you can find availability of slips that can be rented by the night. All three offer fuel, but not 24/7 twelve months out of the year, so plan accordingly. Two of the marinas are counted among the resort lodging facilities. All three offer camping. All three marinas have supplies; none have restaurants. Now here is where things get really interesting. In addition to the marinas, five of the resort facilities have docks where you can rent overnight boat slips. A few of these even have fuel, but only for their own guests. These are not officially considered to be marinas by the Corps of Engineers.
- There are 2 full service grocery stores in the town of Whitney. What that means is that you don’t have to load up half a dozen ice chests and haul your food with you.
- Lake Whitney is not currently a source of drinking water for any municipality. It actually could be, but it’s a bit salty and nobody has yet to come up with a good enough plan to desalinate it and transport it to their community. YEAH! Why you care about this is that we get to keep more water in the lake. Unlike drinking water lakes that often struggle to keep enough water for recreation, Whitney has one less thing to worry about. That does not mean that our water doesn’t get sold by the Brazos River Authority for other purposes, but at least there aren’t yet cities fighting to drain our lake .
- Lake Whitney is officially designated as the Getaway Capital of the state because it’s central location and all of the previous six things make it the perfect place for your getaway. So what are you waiting for?
Rest weekly; escape monthly; retreat quarterly; disengage annually.
Your Lake Whitney Retreat is waiting for you. Whether you enjoy tent camping with the kids, cabin “camping” with your extended family, or even a luxury hotel room overlooking the lake for you and your significant other, Lake Whitney has what you are looking for. You can center yourself here, both physically and mentally. Consider activities like wildlife watching, photography, or hiking to round out your quarterly retreat at the lake. Here are some ideas to get the planning started.
- Dads and daughters—best in an outdoor setting where dads often feel most comfortable; think campfires, building things, and scavenger hunts.
- Moms and daughters—you can do this almost anywhere, spas in the city are fun, but do-it-yourself spas in a scenic location where you do each other’s nails and hair are even better.
- Dads and sons—same principles as dads and daughters, but maybe add fishing or a boat rental.
- Cousins—time for games from childhood, simple meals together, photo sessions, and maybe scrapbooking. Try renting a large cabin where you all stay together, slumber party style.
- Sisters—dinner out, and talk, talk, talk.
- High school buddies—be sure to bring old annuals or class newspapers, plus cameras for fresh photos.
- Sunday school class—you can choose between in-depth Bible study or just fellowship outside the church walls. Lake Whitney scenery offers serenity and calm that are often lacking in our day-to-day lives.
- Your immediate family—do things you never have time for at home. Play Monopoly, read to each other, take long walks together.
- Your significant other—rest, romance, rest, romance. Quiet places are best, but almost any location will work, from a cabin resort to a tent in one of the many public parks.
- Just you—eat simply or maybe even fast. Read, write, rest, or use the time to jumpstart a new routine like a diet or exercise plan.
For more ideas on planning retreat planning check out these Pinterest boards: Retreat ideas