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Texas Tavern – Since 1930 and Open 24 Hours Roanoke, VA

Posted on: March 12, 2011

Below is the original piece I wrote about the Texas Tavern back in 2011, but since then I’ve had the opportunity to write about it for the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s PreservationNation Blog.

You can read about and see my photos from that post here:


[Retro Roadmap] Seating Thousands (10 at a Time) at Texas Tavern in Roanoke, Va.



3/11/11 The Texas Tavern in Roanoke VA is neither in Texas nor a Tavern – discuss. BUT it is a fabulously photogenic place to get a late night cheesburger or hot dog to eat on a RetroRoadtrip  especially because they’re open 24 hours a day.
Texas Tavern, Roanoke, VA
Opened in 1930 the Texas Tavern is family owned and operated by the great-great grandson of the original owner. I’m assuming the Texas part has to do with their recipe for chili (which we as newbies thought were baked beans!) and there is a Tavern next door, should you have to use the facilities.

And yes, ladies enjoy eating here!

Yes Ladies Enjoy Eating Here

We sat ourselves down at the obviously original counter stools and well worn stainless steel counter top, and admired the decor that hasn’t changed much since it was opened.
Stainless Steel Countertop

I glanced at the young gent to my left and noted he was eating 2 dogs, a bowl of beans and a glass of milk, but we also looked at the menu posted above the counter to figure out what to have. I was tickled by the handmade signs with “We Don’t Cash Checks or Play With Bumblebees” being my fave (just below the Please Pay When Served sign)

We Don't Cash Checks or Play With BumblebeesThis diminutive 10 seat eatery serves up the local version of chili – which we thought initially was a that bowl of beans- out of towners for sure! But we were corrected quickly, and clued into the fact that if you wanted chili you just asked for a bowl. And like in Philly, if you want onions on your chili you ask for a “bowl with“.

And after all this talk of their famous chili, I realized I did not take a photo of it, but I did take a photo of my hot dog with everything. I felt a bit like an old Alka-Seltzer commercial eating this at almost midnight, but it was all in the name of research and very tasty with its chili sauce, relish and onions (with?)

Hot Dog With EverythingSpeaking of “everything” we were interested to overhear that only ’til a few years ago the Tavern was ketchup free. Now, if you ask nicely, and mostly for “the kids with their hotdogs” you might be slid a few packets of the red stuff, hidden behind door number 2 (marked with the $5 sign)

Another thing we clued into while absorbing the local atmosphere was folke were ordering “Cheesies” like there was no tomorrow. RetroRoadhusband was about to order another dog, but with my prompting he changed his order to a Cheesy – cheeseburger – again, all in the name of research.

Cheesie - Cheeseburger

It was a small burger – cooked on the grill in the front window, with cheese, onions and their famous relish. I should’ve ordered one myself, but a bite or two of this one hit the late night spot.

Just a few miles off of the highway, take the minutes to go to downtown Roanoke and step back in time at the Texas Tavern!