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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Texas Inn: Lynchburg's Most Famous Restaurant


The Texas Inn can only be found in bit and pieces on the internet, and some have doubted if it is really in Lynchburg. This is a picture to prove that the Texas Inn actually exists.

Rarely is the Texas Inn, called the Texas Inn. Part of the reason are the many people go there when the bars close in Lynchburg, and in drunken stupors call it the "T Room," the "Tea Room." and the "Texas Tavern," It should also be said that Roanoke has a Texas Inn also.

Visitors, and college students rarely remember their visit the next day. While fighting off their hangovers, they only suffer a slight recollection that they were there at all.

The fare of the establishment are westerns, cheesy westerns, bowls, bowls all the way, and hots. Few notice that spaghetti is also served, which would be prompted opened from a can and served on your plate.

Despite what appears to be the small size of this restaurant, it brags at "seating a thousand, ten at a time." They don't mess with checks, or bumble bees which many seem to remember seeing posted somewhere on the wall.

Few of the locals that visit the Texas Inn, tell visitors or college students that a mandatory drink to avoid all the side of effects of this fare. Is a Large Buttermilk served in a frosted mug. Without knowing this some reviews have been of an unkind nature.

In one rare review on the internet, it ranks number 71, as one of America's best food buys, which is from the guide to fine dining put out by the prestigious Food and Wine.com site.

Some other reviews can be found scattered across the internet on various message boards, and on some almost imaginary sites. Here are some of the unedited reviews:

1. Go to the Texas Tavern and have a Cheesy Western. the only good thing to come out of Texas.
Thanks for the info.

One thing though... Isn't a cheesy western one with Roy Rogers or Gene Autry in it?

2. Apparently everyone in Lynchburg knows and takes pride in the Texas Inn and its Cheesy Westerns. I was warned not to ask what it was and have the opportunity to think about it, just order it and eat it. Which I did. A Cheesy Western is a hamburger with cheese and a fried egg, with a super secret mustard relish on top.

Guy goes out drinking with his buddies and pours down a double six-pack of Old Mil, a quart of Mad Dog 20/20 and six boilermakers, then drops by the TT for a late snack about 2 a.m. He orders two hots, a Cheesy Western and a bowl with, passes out in the bowl with and is carted away by his homies. He wakes up at the crack of noon the next day moaning, "Damn, I should never have had that chili."

I'd eat that god-awful mess (we always called the Cheesy Western a gut bomb; it is a tiny hamburger, smothered with a fried egg and slathered with a mustard-relish concoction), then go to bed about 2 a.m. I didn't even have to drink to awaken with a throbbing hangover.

3.Simple fact is that the TT has broken most of the rules of the restaurant business and not only survived for three quarters of a century, but thrived. Its food is terrible. The chili is so bad it isn't even spelled chili, but "chile" (perhaps in order to avoid a lawsuit by chili aficionados); the hot dogs are about the equal of those at the over-valued Roanoke Weiner Stand (where legend is far more valuable than quality), and the Cheesy Western is just completely weird. But when you get the urge, it all works, sitting there on a stool in a tiny restaurant, breathing second-hand smoke and passing pleasantries with a homeless drunk on one side of you and a bank president on the other.


4. For a greasy spoon, if it is still open, eat at the Texas Tea Room downtown. We used to eat there after partying at Randolf Macon with a cheesy western and a bowl all the way (hamberger with cheese and egg and chilli with onions and cheese).

5.Place called the T-Room in Lynchburg all they serve is burger/egg/cheese combos, hot dogs, pie, and TUMs

2 cheesies all the way(cheese burger with egg on top, practically dipped in grease), 2 hots all the way, and a slice of chocolate pie, and I guarantee they'll be using the pay phone in the corner to call ahead to the hospital down the street yeah there are only 11 seats in the entire, place, too

39 Comments:

At 6:32 AM, Blogger Melissa O. Markham said...

I have lived in Lynchburg for almost 40 years. I have never dined at this fine establishment, though apparently someone in Paris has. When I was visiting there in 1996, my two sons ordered a hamburger at a restaurant. It came open-faced with a Sunny Side egg on top.

My oldest son now goes to the Texas Inn with his friends. He likes the cheap food and the fact that it is a place he can get into late at night, when many places will not allow in a person under 21. He says his favorite part is the people who work there and call people names and insult them. Perhaps he watched too much of Seinfeld when he was growing up.

As to why I have never gone...I have not intended a slight to this fine establishment. I remember hearing stories about it when I was in high school, but can probably count the times I was in downtown Lynchburg on both hands as a youngster. Then when I was 19-20, I worked summers and holidays at First Colony Life Insurance, just a mere couple of blocks away. But for some reason I never made it there and I honestly couldn't say way. Now at the age of 39, I tend to stay away from places where they serve Tums for dessert:)

 
At 11:43 AM, Anonymous Gravy Beard said...

It has been many years since I have eaten at the Texan Inn and it was quite greasy but good. I can't eat that kind of food any longer because of health problems so I guess I won't be getting back there any time soon.

G B

 
At 12:28 PM, Blogger Steve said...

Well since I live in the Lone Star State and there are so many fine Texas establishments to eat in I guess I have no desire to go to the Texas inn especially after reading the reviews.

 
At 2:42 PM, Blogger B O B said...

Thank you for your comments

Actually the food there tastes quite good regardless of some of the reviews. If I do go there and eat I do drink a large buttermilk. Not only does it complement the food well, but would save you from what some had said are the side effects of eating there.

 
At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Mitch B said...

I moved away from Lynchburg 20 years ago, but whenever I return to visit, "The T Room" is a must stop for a Cheesy Western. It's the relish that makes the western special. You just can't get that stuff around here in the flatlands.

Here's to the Cheesy Western, The Hamburger of Lynchburgers!

Mitch Bordeaux
Chesterfield, VA

 
At 11:42 PM, Blogger Michael said...

CHEEEEEEEESSSSSYYYYY!

 
At 6:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was born in Lynchburg and actually grew up in Idaho. I moved back to Lynchburg when I was 20 and turned 21 there. With any coming of age experience, they T Room goes hand in hand with going out to bars. I actually asked my first time ordering for my Cheesy Western to come with lettuce tomatoe and pickle, which was followed by a look from the waitress like I was retarded. All of my party laughed at me. My brother actually craves cheesie's like a crackhead craves crack and does not care even if he gets explosive diarhea the next day, just curses the T Room as he defecates. My cousin Matt should probably be a spokesperson for them and loves cheesie's more than any person in the country loves a big mac. I have recently heard that my brother (who prides himself as a rapper) is releasing a track rhyming his praise for the T Room. In closing, you have seriously got to respect a restaurant that builds that kind of devotion from it's customers with food that makes truck stop eating look like fine cuisine. I am anxiously awaiting my return to the burg, but you can gaurantee the first thing I am gonna want to eat is some La Carreta's, the second thing is definately gonna be a Cheesy and some chile.

Will Bryant
Boise, ID

Sanzone nukka what!!!

 
At 8:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The t room is always a must have on visits back home. The food is good regardless of what others say. Nothing better at 2 am

 
At 3:55 PM, Anonymous George said...

This place got us through college. I've been out of 'the Burg' for about 10 years and I dream of cheesy westerns all the way everyday. Even went there sober when we were low on cash. Glass of the James, a cheesy and a bowl of chili worked for every budget.

 
At 8:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm 48 and have eaten there off and on for years. Don't judge a book by the cover. Have a cheesy western, a bowl with (onions) and some homefries. Folks visit there from all walks of life and are treated equal by the staff. The food has always been tasty and I've never in all these years been sick from eating there. Experience it for what it is, it's not that bad.

 
At 4:13 PM, Anonymous Fire Dog said...

Cheesies will leave your stomach, intestinal tract, and bathroom a mess, in addition to alienating and toxifying anyone or anything that breathes. They are delicious but the consequences will make you think twice about returning for more, unless of course you are already inebriated and then it really doesn't matter, does it? Enjoy!

 
At 11:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I moved to L'burg in 1991 I was introduced to the T Room and was warned that if you get a Cheesy to go and the bag ain't dripping with grease then you didn't get a good one!

I have a friend that carries a bag of Cheesy's on the train up to NY City to his UVA grad-Lawyer son everytime he goes.

I've also found that it's the best place to stop after a Saturday night UVA game. It's always interesting when there's drunk on one side of you and a lawyer/banker type on the other.

 
At 11:13 PM, Blogger Cal said...

I used to frequent the Texas Tavern with friends in 1969. I understand the original building was razed in the 70's. The western sandwich is a fond memory and was a dietary staple. If you want an experience close to the original, travel to Roanoke.

 
At 2:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I Just recently moved away from Lynchburg to relocate to sunny West Palm Beach Fl and besides my family, the mountains and the beautiful spring flowers, I miss the the t-room and cheesy westerns the most. I wish I had a dime for everytime me and my friends went there after a night of drinking at the local pubs. The last time I was there, another native and I went and she had so much to drink that night that she ate a hunk of onion the size of a small cat and never even realized it! Too funny. I wish I had a cheesy, a bowl all the way and a dog walking and crying right now! (cheesywestern, a bowl of chili and a hotdog with mustard and onions to go) At least I know it will always be there when I return home to visit those I love the most.

 
At 9:59 PM, Blogger CivilianX said...

I have the original T-room relish recipe. You can have it for a sack of cheesy westerns, delivered to my home.

 
At 10:54 PM, Anonymous Steve said...

Look out T Room the Colemans from Cal.,Bedford, and Lynchburg along with the Wells from Ky. will be at the T room Friday Sept 12th for some good food. Amust have for all.

 
At 2:52 AM, Blogger uni cyclist said...

In a world full of chain restaurants, this is the genuine, bona fide authentic article. We would drive from Lexington in the middle of the night for a cheesey western all the way. These are the kinds of places that you read about that have closed over the years. It's a rare find. Enjoy it while it's still around, because some day, they'll bulldoze it down for a Wallgreens. Sad to say.

 
At 5:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Texas folks are missing the point completely. I am glad they are staying in Texas.

 
At 5:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Went to the Tea Room on 12/29/08. We're from Maine and were introduced to Texas Inn by our new inlaws. We'd heard about this culinary experience form our son-in-law,who raved and raved about the food - " Best cheeseburger anywhere". It far surpassed our expectations. One hasn't lived until they have a "cheesey all the way and a bowl of chili with flowers". Check your "health conscience" at the door. There is a time and a place for everything and when you enter the door it is NOT the time to think of your health!. The ambiance is "roadhouse" all the way and if you listen very, very carefully over the din of the cooking and the banter of the customers, you can faintly hear the sweet sound of your arteries hardening. But my word if one has to go, what a way to go... it is a slice of culinary heaven... a must visit for anyone visiting the Lynchburg area.The Texas Inn (aka the Tea Room) is truly an American icon.

 
At 10:55 AM, Blogger Rob said...

Going to the T-room drunk at 2:00AM is part of growing up in Lynchburg. Got clocked in the parking lot by a cop there one time in the late 80s. My buddy from Jefferson Forest really got worn out by the other cop. Ah, good times. One of us must have said one too many bad things to Dot. I agree with the other post. When I visit home, my two stops are La Caretta (near Brookville)and the T-room.

 
At 1:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gimme a cheese bowl and a glass of the James.
Can I have a ride back to LC, anyone??

 
At 4:00 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Cheesy Western all the way, Cheese Bowl Double Relish and a Coke! That is what a good late night meal in the 'burg is. As a L'VA native, I can attest that this local institution and icon is a "must stop." You have not truly been to Lynchburg until you have been to the T Room!

 
At 4:02 PM, Blogger darrenking said...

We love coming to Lynchburg from Scotland UK. We always make a point of stopping off at the Texas Inn. You just can't beat it. Actually we will be there next week. So that'll be 4 bowls all the way!

 
At 2:16 PM, Blogger John said...

Always stop both coming and going to UVA games for NC. Best Burger anywhere and even have my son hooked on them. Tried the Texas Tavern in Roanoke and have two words "stay away". Bogest Westerns!!!

 
At 12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get your facts straight... Roanoke has NEVER had a Texas Inn... We have the Texas Tavern, it came long before the Texas Inn (and even before the Texas Inn was the Identical Tavern built in Lynchburg but later torn down).

As far as the Tavern goes (as I'm from Roanoke):
A cheezy western is good stuff, but my first thought was that it was lacking... it's more of an egg sandwich with a little beef than a burger. the chilli is really good... especially with some mustard in it. and the hot dogs are not nearly as good as the Hot Dog King's but they are plenty good enough for me to order 4 of them in one sitting. People who say it's bad food either haven't tried it and are afraid to because of what the place looks like, or are insanely picky.

 
At 11:32 PM, Anonymous Bruce said...

I now have eaten at the Texas Inn twice. Once along about 1988 or so. I can remember what I ordered because it is what I order no matter where I eat if they serve chili dogs. I know they are not called chili dogs at the Inn. Today I was visiting a friend at Baptist Hospital and made it a point to stop in again. I can say out of the 4 times I have visited Lynchburg in my life I have eaten at the Texas Inn half the time. I love the place. But my next trip will be for a cheesy. For sure. The Inn is worth your drive, no matter where you are coming from. Saw a car with California license plates there today.

 
At 2:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually Roanoke is now home to the "Texas Tavern" originally in Lynchburg. When the owner moved the franchise to Roanoke, the local establishment was unable to use the name and thus became the Texas Inn.

 
At 12:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No no. Get your facts straight silly. The Roanoke location is actually the original. There are several news articles detailing the history of both locations

 
At 12:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG! Really, people actually ENJOY the t-room when they're sober? Or are all of the reviews written while still intoxicated? I've eaten at tons of restaurants while travelling on business, both hole-in-the-wall and fine dining; I have a pretty fair mind, and I love food and cooking. One visit to this supposedly "amazing" establishment was enough to make me regret spending even $1.25 for a soda, much less paying for my party to eat there. The food is utterly bland; the cheesy western is outdone by "The Weenie Stand" cheesy western, which is only partially acceptable itself.

I cannot say that I enjoyed their chili, either. Normally, I will eat any kind of chili, spicy, mild, anywhere in between; heck, I've even tried some vegan and vegetarian chili in my days. "Bland" doesn't even begin to describe the flavor of the chili; it tastes like oily, watered-down tomato sauce with maybe a little salt. I ended up pouring about 10 Tbsp of Texas Pete in the chili to have any semblance of flavor and force myself to eat it.

Overall, I was sorely disappointed. I think the people who love this restaurant are all going on the hype of it, and their opinions may be unwittingly shaped due to it. However, I cannot say that it is anything better than horridly inadequate. I wouldn't even be cruel enough to help one of the homeless by feeding them from this place; they'd be better off eating from a hog trough.

 
At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have always loved the tavern. It brings back lots of memories from when I was growing up. We had hot dogs with chili and stuff. I actually have a print of the T-room by the artist Lozano. His work is amazing! But it is great fun when its crowded! An old reliable for those late nights.

Long live the Tavern!

 
At 9:48 PM, Blogger John said...

The original Texas Tavern in Lynchburg, aka "ptomaine tea-room", nice alliteration, huh?, was next to the Paramount theater and across from the Elks Club from whence came most of the incapacitated late night afficionados. The food is addictive, what we eat reminds us from where we came. I still have chili & buttermilk for breakfast, with a heaping spoon of chow-chow in the chili & and handful of oyster crackers, trying to recapture the essence.

 
At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah so maybe a cheesy western is a gut bomb and maybe the chili aint up to par but i remember eatin there stone cold sober and lovin the cheeseburgers i ordered with ketchup/mustard hold the relish and my bowl of chili with cheese crackers and a cold coke my stepdad and my real dad loved this place and it will forever be one of my best memories growing up

 
At 4:02 AM, Blogger Squirrelgirl55 said...

I am a 56 year old woman born in Lynchburg. My daddy took me to the Texas Tavern that was down the street I THINK where the big hotel is now. Have gone off and on through the years as my life brings me back to Lynchburg and "the T'...my husband went to LC. The T is , IMO, ALL ABOUT THE RELISH. That is what makes it. And as far as I am concerned it is a Western(NO CHEESE) w double relish...and a bowl w double relish. We then buy a container of relish to take home!Yep ,it is the relish that makes the place....and the whole "ambience":-)

 
At 7:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just got back to the hotel after having a couple of Cheesy Westerns all the way. So, so good. This is only my second visit to Lynchburg, and I just happened to stumble across some reviews of the Texas Inn. The chili isn't that great, but the Cheesy Western is delicious. Great food, great people. I'll definitely be back.

 
At 5:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was born in Lynchburg, and moved to Austin. Tx when I was six. Never got to go to the Texas Inn until last year when my uncle passed away, and my dad and another uncle took me there. I loved every bite and can't wait to go back!

 
At 1:30 PM, Anonymous Sid Sanders said...

I remember Texas Tavern as a diner about the size of an old-fashioned house trailer, crammed beween the Paramount Theater another building. It was a rare treat for us as children (back in the 1940s) when Daddy would get Texas Tavern hot dogs (15 cents each) for us. As a teenager in the 50s, my buddies and I frequently ended up there after a night of cruising.
When you walked in, you were standing in a narrow corridor that ran behind 10 bar stools on your right. There was barely room to turn around, so if you wanted to leave, you'd be better off to back out. (But do that quickly, because people were coming in behind you!) The ten stools were always full, so you had to stand there until someone left. Before your butt hit the barstool, the counterman would ask (demand?) to know "what'll it be", or "what's your's" --and you'd better know right then, because you probably wouldn't be asked again. After all, other people were waiting behind you for the seat you just took. I'd usually order a western (not "cheesy" in those days), or a couple of hot dogs. I think they were two for a quarter then, which is about two and a half bucks in today's money. Back in 2008, we tried the new "Texas Inn", which is in a converted service station now. It's much different from the old days (but what isn't?), but they still respond to "gimme a bowl and a western" with the same speedy service. As far as I can tell, the food is still, as the Talking Heads might say, "same as it ever was".
--Sid (MHHS, '56)
2012oct18(13:22)-sls

 
At 8:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having been born and raised in Lynchburg, I remember the "T Room" before it was at its current location. I have always loved the food. Whenever I come home now, it is a must for a Western and a bowl.

 
At 11:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

4 cheesy's & 2 quarts, all the way, walking!~ once a year, to clean out the pipes!

 
At 5:22 PM, Anonymous Mary Ann Williams McCal said...

I was born and raised in Lynchburg, Virginia. Every Saturday night, my Daddy would take me to the Academy Theater. As soon as we exited the theater, we crossed the street to go to the Texas Tavern. This was back in the early 40's to equally early 50's. The "T", as it was sometimes called, was housed in a very narrow, white building. There was a sign that said, "We feed a hundred people, ten at a time." The business was, at one time, owned by a Mr. VanCleeve. The Texas Tavern was located across the street from the Academy Theater, and next door to the Isis Theater. The Paramount Theater was in the next block, closer to 5th. street. If I remember correctly, I was never allowed to go to the Trenton Theater. I have eaten at The Texas Inn. It's good, if you don't look too closely, but it will never, never, never come even close to the dear old Texas Tavern of my childhood.

 

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