Friday, October 16, 2015

Feed, Seed and Beer to Go

Thurber Smokestack
For years Dave has been visiting Thurber and Mingus to celebrate the beginning of the deer hunting season. What he enjoyed, more than the hunting, was the food that was available. Mingus, with its small downtown not only has a post office, but a convenience store called the Feed, Seed and Beer to Go. The area is full of West Texas whimsy. Thurber is now a tiny unincorporated community in Erath County about 75 miles west of Fort Worth. However, between 1888 and 1921 it was one of the largest producers of bituminous coal in Texas and the largest company town in the state. Thurber’s coal-mining operations began in 1886 and peaked in the 1920s. The mining attracted workers from Italy, Poland and Mexico to this company town that was owned by the Texas and Pacific Coal Company (through their subsidiary the Texas Pacific Mercantile and Manufacturing Company). This company served the Texas and Pacific Railway to whom it provided fuel until 1920 when the locomotives converted from coal to oil. The other industry booming in Thurber at this time was the production of vitrified paving bricks; these bricks are still in use in Texas and in the southern half of the US. Next door to Thurber is Mingus. Even though it’s smaller than Thurber, it has a post office. Named for William Mingus, it was the location of the 1881 construction of the Texas and Pacific Railway. The community served local farmers and ranchers, as well as a place for truckers and hunters to stop for supplies and/or refreshments.

We were traveling through West Texas and remembered that the Thurber/Mingus area had a historic restaurant, so since it was near noon, we decided to give it a try. For information about my rating system, see Reading the Reviews.
Four Carrots
The SmokeStack Restaurant (239 Private Road 741, Mingus, TX 76463, 254-672-5560)
Left: Dave with Menu
Right T to B: Ham sandwich, Plate lunch
began more than 40 years ago in Thurber’s old drugstore. The original building burned in 1992, but was rebuilt in the north end of the 1890s Texas & Pacific Mercantile building that is made with original Thurber bricks. The restaurant is named for the 128-foot-tall power plant smokestack; the power plant once supplied the town of Thurber with electricity. There is a full menu, but on week days there is also a lunch plate. Dave and I opted for that and were glad that we did. It was heaped with a chopped steak, mashed potatoes, fresh corn, a huge yeast roll, and peach cobbler for dessert. Vince had a ham and cheese sandwich with French fries; the fries were crispy and rather than being a thin slice of ham, the meat was a ham steak. We all took half of our meals home!

Mural on a Fence
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