Sunday, October 24, 2010
Surrounded by lakes and woods in the heart of Northeast Texas, Mount Pleasant lives up to its name as a pleasing place to visit. Four major lakes within 30 minutes of the town limits make this the Bass fishing capital of Texas. A Blue Bird Trail and the Sleepy Hollow Daffodil Garden beckon in the springtime. Its restaurant selections support Texas classics such as chicken fried steak, BBQ, and Tex-Mex but for the more adventuresome palate, there’s a nice variety. Here are some suggestions for the day or overnight visitor as well as those with a more leisurely stay.
(1) Jo’s Antiques on the Square. This 26 year old, quality antique store has been discovered by many Dallas and Houston clients and owner Jo Campbell knows their names and interests. Her pieces all have stories and she has a large selection of R. S. Prussian porcelain. As an added bonus, her building dates from 1894, making it the oldest in Mt. Pleasant. Jo also has an interest in the adjoining Old World Interiors, a gift shop with jewelry and home accents.
102 North Jefferson Avenue. 903.572.3173
(2) Rodeo with a Capital R. There’s more than one opportunity to experience rodeo here. The Mt. Pleasant Rodeo in May draws a large crowd of participants and fans. A local company, Priefert Ranch Equipment, manufactures the widely used bucking chute, a pen that allows riders to safely mount a bull before the gate opens. If you miss the May event, the rodeo team at Northeast Texas Community College competes with 11 other colleges and their event is in October. And children can compete in an academic rodeo held during the Titus County Fair in October.
(3) Meson del Bajio. This is truly a hidden gem. If a friend had not recommended it, I would never have stopped at the wonderful real Mexican restaurant tucked behind mirrored doors in a tumble down strip center. The interior is filled with authentic Mexican furniture, including some antiques and a church door now used as a table. Owner Gabriel Lopez hails from the lovely city of Guanajuato, Mexico and is proud of his authentic fare. My chicken enchiladas with green chile sauce were not only delicious but were presented with fresh lettuce, tomato, crema, and avocado strips.
201 E. 1st Street. 903.575.0315 or 903.201.5604
(4) For the sweet tooth visitors, Mt. Pleasant is a treasure and will satisfy any craving.
The Sweet Shop USA is a transplant from Ft. Worth that sells wholesale high-end gourmet chocolate. But the good news is it has a gift shop that allows all to taste and purchase their products. For the hard corps chocoholics, a tour can be arranged if notice is given in advance.
Call 1-800-222-2269 for tour information
1316 Industrial Road
The Sweet Shop USA
Golden Gals Candy sells freshly made pecan pralines in three flavors. Other sweets are offered but the pralines rule.
210 W. 2nd Street. 903.577.3434
Golden Gal's Candy Company
Laura’s Cheesecake and Bakery. This very popular bakery offers a nice selection of sandwiches and salads which can be topped off with a slice of one of Laura’s Cheesecakes. I was surprised to find grilled vegetables with my turkey sandwich on foccacio bread - nice. Their cheesecakes are well-known, having been featured in Southern Living magazine, and are shipped around the country.
Located on downtown Square, 109 N. Madison. 903.577.8177.
213 N. Madison. 903.575.4180
Mt. Pleasant Public Library
(6) Dellwood Park, at the east edge of town, has long, concrete sidewalks for running or strolling, tennis courts, open areas for soccer, painted bridges and fountains - a nice place to unwind after a day of visiting.
726 E. Ferguson Ave.
(7) Super Plaza Mercado. Thanks to the large Hispanic population in Mt. Pleasant, this well stocked grocery store features many products used for traditional Mexican cooking. Fresh and dried chiles, queso fresco, masa and Mexican pastries add authenticity to any Mexican meal. But it is also a great place to buy fresh meat and seafood, including options such as octopus!
1210 W. Ferguson. 903.575.9449
(8) Herschel’s Family Restaurant. From the outside, this restaurant appears to be a Dairy Queen knock off. But inside, sports memorabilia decorates the front room and a surprising array of animal trophies fill the large party room in back. Locals hang out here. The #1 combo is the most popular breakfast selection while chicken fried steak or a baked potato dominate at lunch.
1612 S. Jefferson. 903.572.7801
(9) Delia’s Salvadorian Cuisine. What a nice addition to the food scene in Mt. Pleasant. The family’s grandmother, Delia, began the family restaurant tradition in El Salvador. Her grandchildren have opened one here, introducing the local population to the papusa - hand made stuffed tortilla with cheese, beans, squash or meat. Try the black bean dip or the drink, ensalada de fruta. The family even brings back moro and marnon from El Salvador for authentic flavoring.
1406 N. Jefferson. 903.577.1882
(10) The Agriculture Building at Northeast Texas Community College. Ok, this is just outside of town but it’s worth the lovely ten minute drive to see a building of the future. Equipped with green screens on the windows, a pond to collect and recycle rain water, and a solar-powered electrical system, the building has earned a platinum rating on LEED, the green building certification system. We should all take notes.
Northeast Texas Community College
Other good restaurant choices are Mardi Gras, a locally owned Cajun restaurant, Luigi’s Italian Restaurant with its famous pink sauce, and Bodacious BARBQ, a regional favorite.
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