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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Fun-Loving Lubbock

By Misty Milioto

Known as Hub City (the economic, education, and healthcare center of the South Plains), Lubbock, Texas, is a lively city blending Western heritage, a supportive arts scene (and one of the first cultural arts districts recognized by the state of Texas), award-winning winemaking, exquisite restaurants, and plenty of cultural attractions. Lubbock also is home to Texas Tech University and its gorgeous collection of public art. Here’s how to make the most of a trip to this friendly west Texas city that’s simply bursting with charm.


Located on Broadway Street in the heart of downtown Lubbock, the Cotton Court Hotel is a 165-room pet-friendly boutique hotel flaunting eclectic design elements. From the cozy lobby with its roaring fireplace, Buddy Holly mural, and wall of guitars, to the stylish guest rooms and suites with SMEG refrigerators and oversized bathrooms with rainfall showers, this hotel has it all. That’s not to mention The Midnight Shift restaurant and bar, and the sprawling courtyard with multiple fire pits and outdoor pool. The Cotton Court Hotel also has impressive accessibility features, such as six ADA rooms (including two that are roll-in shower accessible) and 15 hearing-impaired rooms (with doorbells that have flashing lights). The hotel also features wheelchair accessibility throughout the property, brail on all hotel signage, and a pool lift. 1610 Broadway St., 210.220.3054, www.cottoncourthotel.com


Lubbock is home to a community of farmers, ranchers, and chefs who are involved with the farm-to-fork movement. Local farmers markets include the Lubbock Downtown Farmers Market (featuring nearly 70 vendors) and Wolf Creek Farm and Neighborhood Market (focusing on locally grown produce using only non-GMO, organic, heirloom seeds and plants). Find everything from baked goods, salsas, and fresh produce to live plants, eggs, meat, and dairy items. 1822 Buddy Holly Ave., www.lubbockdowntownfarmersmarket.com; 5301 County Road 1260, www.facebook.com/wcfarmstx

For breakfast, try Cast Iron Grill, which is known for its down-home menu. Order the chicken-fried steak and eggs or the cast iron burrito, and follow it up with a slice of Billionaire (strawberry) pie for good measure. 620 19th St., 806.771.7690, www.castirongrilllubbock.com

Another great breakfast option is Monomyth Coffee Co. Grab a latte (with your choice of house made syrups) and some avocado toast, a greens and grains bowl, or a Brulee Bakery pastry. 2024 Broadway St., 806.368.8183,www.monomythcoffee.com

For lunch, try Evie Mae’s for some of the best barbecue in town. In fact, the line can get pretty long, so be sure to arrive early. Menu options include meat by the pound (such as brisket, pulled pork, chicken, and pork ribs), sandwiches, combo plates, and a bevy of sides. 11302 Slide Road,www.eviemaesbbq.com

The Fresh American
is a new restaurant that features an energetic open kitchen, a special chef’s table experience, an outdoor patio, two private dining rooms, and a menu of modern American cuisine. Lunch options include a goat cheese and beet salad, West Coast fish tacos, smoked brisket French dip, and The Fresh American burger. The dinner menu includes bourbon sticky ribs, pan-seared crab cakes, an array of steaks, lamb confit, and a double bone-in pork chop. 3715 114th St., 806.438.1322,www.thefreshamerican.com

Many of Lubbock’s restaurants offer seasonal and farm-to-table cuisine, but The Nicolett uses unique ingredients — like juniper and cactus flower — grown on-property. This new fine-dining restaurant focuses on High Plains cuisine, showcasing ingredients that are natural to the region. It was named one of the 50 Best New Restaurants in America by Bon Appetit in 2022, and Chef Finn Walter was named as a semifinalist for Best Chef: Texas by the James Beard Foundation. Cocktails here also feature regional twists, such as the Desert Margarita made with Desert Door Texas Sotol, Ancho Reyes, Combier, habanero bitters, lime, and sotol salt. 511 Broadway St., 806.993.0144,www.nicolettrestaurant.com

Another great spot for dinner, The West Table offers upscale dining, combining eclectic New American cuisine with local and global ingredients, all with a focus on seasonality and sustainability. While menus change daily, options have included NOLA shrimp, oysters on the half shell, roasted beet salad, charbroiled beef tenderloin, and cast iron-seared duck breast. As an added bonus, the restaurant implements a number of zero-waste measures. 1204 Broadway Ave., 806.993.9378,www.thewesttable.com

Recently opened last summer, Neighborhood F&B is restaurateur Cameron West’s answer to an approachable yet modern neighborhood bar and grill. Enjoy elevated seasonal fare, craft cocktails, local beers, and a diverse selection of wine, plus a menu of pub fare like deep-fried deviled eggs; a burger with bacon jam, caramelized onions, American cheese, and toasted brioche; and even fried lasagna. 9806 Quaker Ave., 806.553.9500

A hidden gem in the heart of Lubbock’s Depot District, La Diosa Cellars is a charming bistro with plush chairs, warm lighting, and music that fits the moody ambiance. Enjoy classic Spanish and Mediterranean tapas, salads, pizza, and specialty dishes; gourmet desserts; and an eclectic wine list, featuring both local wines by the glass or bottle, as well as an assortment of domestic and international wines. 901 17th St., 806.744.3600, www.ladiosacellars.com

Founded in 1976 by Dr. Clinton “Doc” McPherson — a pioneer of the modern Texas wine industry — and Bob Reed, Llano Estacado Winery was one of the first post-Prohibition wineries in Texas. McPherson, who planted experimental vines in the area in the 1960s, laid the framework for what has since shaped winemaking in the Texas High Plains landscape. Over the years, Llano Estacado has grown to become the largest, best-selling premium winery in Texas. 3426 E. FM 1585, 806.745.2258,www.llanowine.com

Created in 2000 to honor the legacy of winemaker Kim McPherson’s father, Dr. Clinton “Doc” McPherson, McPherson Cellars focuses on sustainably-farmed small-batch wines. By planting and growing grapes that are best suited for the area’s climate and soil and using improved farming methods, McPherson Cellars crafts wines that beautifully showcase the terroir. 1615 Texas Ave., 806.687.9463, www.mcphersoncellars.com

For those who want a local craft beer, look no further than Good Line Beer Co. Owners Chris Troutman and Shawn Phillips are known for their “Dust Coast” style of beer brewed specifically for the area, and the family- and pet-friendly taproom and patio offer a perfect spot for enjoying brews like the Range Life pilsner and the Bitter Buffalo IPA. 2611 Boston Ave., 806.701.1971, www.goodlinebeer.com


The National Ranching Heritage Center features 55 historic structures that tell the story of frontier settlers. These structures have been relocated, restored and furnished to match the period and chronologically arranged to show the evolution of ranch life from the late 1700s through the mid-1900s. In addition to the 19-acre historical park, the NRHC features a 44,000-square-foot museum and 42 life-size bronze outdoor art pieces. The NRHC seeks to raise awareness surrounding sustainable land management and also grows grasses onsite that are native to the Texas High Plains. Meanwhile, the newly opened Cash Family Ranch Life Learning Center serves as a comprehensive educational experience. 3121 4th St., 806.742.0498, www.ranchingheritage.org

Lubbock also is the birthplace of Buddy Holly, and there are many tributes to the influential singer/songwriter throughout the city. For example, the Buddy Holly Center preserves and presents artifacts relevant to Holly, as well as those of other West Texas performing artists and musicians. Items especially of note include Holly’s iconic glasses and his prized motorcycle. 1801 Crickets Ave., 806.775.3560, ci.lubbock.tx.us/departments/buddy-holly-center

The Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences is a state-of-the-art 2,200-seat center presenting shows, concerts and special events. It’s also home to Ballet Lubbock Pre-Professional Academy. Upcoming events include Killer Queen: A Tribute to Queen, Ballet Lubbock Presents: The Four Seasons, The Book of Mormon, and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. 1300 Mac Davis Lane, 806.792.8339,www.buddyhollyhall.com

Overseen by Director Chad Plunket, a local celebrity in his own right, the Charles Adams Studio Project is a non-profit arts organization that serves as a cornerstone in the Lubbock Arts District. CASP features live/work studios housing three full-time artist residencies and one artist-in-residence participant; the Studios @ 5&J (housing the Helen DeVitt Jones Print Studio, The Texas Tech University School of Art: Satellite Gallery, 5&J Gallery and The CH Foundation Metals Studio & Foundry); professional-grade studio space for working artists; The Charles Adams Gallery (representing regional artists); and the Director’s Residence and courtyard (both of which are available to rent). 602 Avenue J, 806.928.4529, www.casp-arts.org


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