Hit the Old Spanish Trail!

To hit this trail, you don’t need to saddle up or even lace your hiking boots. We’re talking about the Old Spanish Trail (OST) restaurant in Bandera, an honored local tradition for over 100 years!

The original Old Spanish Trail was a trade route between the southwestern US and the Pacific. Spanish explorers used it since the late 1600s, tracing trails blazed by Native Americans hundreds of years before. While the original trail ventured no farther east than northern New Mexico, in the 1920s a series of highways stretching from St. Augustine, Florida to San Diego, California was named the Old Spanish Trail as a tribute to the original trade route. This highway system passed through the Texas Hill Country, including a stretch just north of Bandera.

In 1873, the Huffmeyer Store opened in a new building on Bandera’s Main Street. Shortly thereafter, it was purchased by W.J. Davenport, whose grocery and general store supplied Bandera County residents with basic necessities for over 30 years. It’s now home to the Old Spanish Trail restaurant, and was recognized as a Texas Historic Landmark in 1967, notably as the oldest business building in Bandera.

One year after the building was erected, in 1874, the influential and busy Great Western Cattle Trail was born, with Bandera as its starting point. With all those cowboys calling Bandera their home when they weren’t out on the trail, it comes as no surprise that the town quickly gained its reputation as the Cowboy Capital of the World, a distinction they proudly carry to this day.

1921 marks the point at which the Old Spanish Trial (the restaurant) stepped in and became a part of Bandera’s rich history. That’s the year they took over the old Davenport Grocery building and opened an eatery based upon the hearty, stick-to-your-ribs American and Tex-Mex fare they’re still known for today. Now, over a century later, they proudly serve as the oldest continuously-operated restaurant in Bandera County. (They were also a dance hall during the 30s and 40s, attracting popular acts from all over the country!)

You don’t get to the hundred-year mark by resting on your laurels! Over that period of time, the OST is on just its fourth owner, and through its history all have honored the tradition of great food and super-friendly southern hospitality. They’ve got the John Wayne Room, dedicated to The Duke and the great American cowboy (the room used to be the horse corral for the grocery store), and their salad bar is right at home in a refurbished vintage wagon wheel. Theirs is a time-tested formula that puts all their welcome guests at ease...and invites them to return.

The Old Spanish Trail Restaurant in Bandera is located at 311 Main Street, and is open seven days a week; you can learn more about their history, hours of operation, and menu by visiting their web page at www.ostbandera.com. The restaurant doesn’t serve alcohol, but guests are welcome to bring their own; setups are available. If you have any questions, their phone number is (830) 796-3836.

A hearty and satisfying meal at the Old Spanish Trail is just one way to enjoy the Cowboy Capital of the World, and the other great towns of the Hill Country! Make the most of your visit here with the most up-to-date information in our powerful exploration tool: the Hill Country Travel App! The FREE download provides up-to-date information about over 20 towns, local businesses, events, and much more. It’s available on both iPhone and Android!