Friday, May 22, 2015

Way Back in Weatherford and Restaurant Review

Parker County
When I was a little kid one of my parents’ friends teased me that I was actually Cynthia Ann Parker and had a son named Quanah. Although I never believed him, Cynthia Ann and Quanah populated my imagination for years; there were days that I was a Comanche looking for a place to put my campfire and build my teepee. Eventually I learned that Parker County was named for State Representative Isaac Parker, the uncle of Cynthia Ann Parker. The town of Weatherford is the seat of Parker County and the place my parents headed when they wanted to get married just days before my dad was shipped out to Hawai’i in World War II. Since none of us had been to Weatherford in a while we decided to go take a look at the courthouse and have lunch on the square. It surprised us all at the time it took to get from south of Fort Worth to Weatherford. The last time we made this journey it took at least two hours; this trip was only about 45 minutes around the highway.

While it’s a quiet town now, in the mid to late 1800s it was the scene of many Native American attacks. If you visit some of the cemeteries in the county, you’ll see headstones
Weatherford Courthouse
that say "Killed by Indians." Also around this time the Santa Fe Railroad came through the town, providing jobs and thus increasing the population. If you can locate the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce you’ll get a good look at the Santa Fe Depot. Still standing and in current use is the Parker county Courthouse. It is a gorgeous example of Second Empire style with its bright red roof and white walls. There are more than 60 Queen Anne, Victorian, and other architecturally interesting buildings constructed at the turn of the century; there is an historic drive that lets you get a good look at them.

Weatherford Mural
Weatherford isn’t just an historic town and county seat; it is also associated with movie stars and higher education. Mary Martin was born here and her son, Larry Hagman, returned to town to take part in charity events since part of the family still resides here. Education has been an integral part of the city since the 1800. Weatherford College of the Parker County Junior College District provides credit and non-credit courses and technical programs to folks who want to increase their education.

We took a turn around the square, looking for the remnants of saloons and cat-houses but
Bennett's Office Supply
didn’t pick up any clues. We did see an office supply store that has been around since the 1940s and an upscale restaurant that has taken over one of the older buildings. The mural on the side of this building depicts Weatherford as it once was. Other older buildings on the square house lawyers, title companies, and boutiques. Once it was time for lunch, we chose the oldest restaurant on the square. For information about my rating system, see Reading the Reviews.

What we ate…
Four carrots
The Weatherford Downtown Café (101 W Church St, Weatherford, TX, 817-594-8717) is in one of the historic buildings and was populated the day we visited with lots of locals. Luckily we were there early and got a table out of the way of the servers and the patrons. The
Clockwise from top: Blackberry cobbler, Catfish lunch,
Sodas from Dublin, Mashed potatoes
Friday special on the chalkboard was fried catfish and all three of us had that. We all agreed that the catfish was wonderful, as was the slaw and the fried okra. Dave and Vince really liked the hush-puppies; of course Vince wished for jalapeños in his. Dave opted for mashed potatoes and gravy rather than slaw and he said that was a good choice. Since we all had the same thing, I made the executive decision to get a dessert to share. When the waiter brought the blackberry cobbler, I was very glad that I’d asked for three spoons. This was a huge portion; but better than its size was the flavor. The breading was flaky with brown sugar and cinnamon; the berries were ripe, sweet and plentiful. Our waiter was very busy, but he paid attention; we were able to get what we needed without waiting an overlong time. The cost of this meal was surprisingly low. My only complaints were the noise level and having to go up to the register and stand in line to pay the bill. Your check doesn’t come to your table, but is calculated when you reach the register.

Weatherford mural
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