Photography: Cody Graham

A historic restaurant gets a face-lift and a fresh take on its classic dishes.

Stagecoach Inn, the iconic restaurant in Salado, Texas, reopened its doors last month, following a year-long renovation that updated the 1860-era structure while maintaining a historic charm that goes back more than a century. Originally opened as the Shady Villa Hotel in 1861 on the southern bank of Salado Creek sitting along the historic Chisholm Trail, the Shady Villa hosted guests as distinctive and varied as Sam Houston, Robert E. Lee, George Custer, Sam Bass, and Jesse James. In 1943 the building was re-purposed as the Stagecoach Inn restaurant.

Its history continues today with executive chef Justin Holler heading the kitchen. Holler and his staff offer a prix fixe menu that is an an ode to the restaurant’s original recipes. Two of which are below, courtesy chef Holler.

Photography: Cody Graham

Tomahawk Pork Chop

4 12-ounce tomahawk pork chop
½ cup guajillo chile, puréed
1 stick unsalted butter
¼ cup preferred spice blend
1 large water-tight bag

In a pot, heat purée and butter until butter is melted. Remove from heat and cool completely. Place pork chops and guajillo mixture in vacuum bag or zip-top bag. Allow chops to marinate in mixture for 48 hours. Remove chops from bag and coat entire outside with rub. Char over direct fire on grill, and then move over to indirect heat side and allow to cook until medium.

Photography: Cody Graham

1861 Hush Puppies

8 cups white cornmeal
3 tablespoons baking powder
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup salt
12 cups water
6 ounces butter

Mix all dry ingredients in bowl and set aside. Bring water to a boil and add butter. Once boiling add dry ingredients, whisking the whole time. Once mixture is thick, remove from heat and pour into large pan and allow to cool at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Using a pastry bag with large round tip, pipe out tubes and cut approximately 3 inches in length. Place in refrigerator until cooled completely. Fry in 350-degree fryer until golden brown.

For more information on the Stagecoach Inn or to make reservations visit their website.

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