10 Things to Know before Visiting Texas

The old adage goes that everything is bigger in Texas. I know a whole bunch of Texans that would argue that everything is also better in the Lone Star state. Yes, we Texans are a very proud bunch, and rightfully so.


In order to fully appreciate visiting Texas, you must understand a few things first. So, here are ten tidbits that will help you make the most out of your trip:

Speaking, making eye contact, smiling, and waving doesn’t mean we’re trying to seduce you or sell you anything.

Hey Cupcake Austin Texas

As a whole, Texans are a friendly bunch. We’re quick to say hello and ask how you’re doing. That’s more of a rhetorical question, and just our way of being polite. We hold store doors open for strangers and wave to passing cars on two-lane highways. Need directions or recommendations to the best Tex-Mex in town? Ask a Texan, but don’t be surprised if you suddenly have company for dinner. It’s just our way.

Don’t turn your nose up at gas station food.

Buc-ee's in Bastrop Texas

Convenience store cuisine in Texas is more than a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos, ranch-flavored sunflower seeds, and a 64-ounce fountain Coke. When you’re seeking fried food paradise, look no further than the nearest gas station. When in the Panhandle, get an Allsup’s burrito; it’s golden fried cylinder of goodness. Don’t forget a handful of taco sauce with that order. The corny dog was invented in Texas, and you can’t go wrong with one of those from Stripes {formerly Town & Country} when in West Texas. And if you’re lucky enough to encounter a Buc-ee’s, you’d better stop. There are six flagship stores around Austin, San Antonio, and Houston. I tend to think they’re called ‘flagship stores’ because of their size. Each one is at least as big as Rhode Island and deserves its own Buc-ee Beaver flag and governing body. I dare you not to spend at least an hour in one and not ingest 1,752 calories.

Don’t utter the words pop or soda unless you want a strange look.

Texas Dr Pepper Can

Nothing will give you away as a foreigner more than saying pop or soda when ordering carbonated beverages. Those things are called Cokes. It’s a generic term we use. I don’t care if you really want a Pepsi, 7-Up, Mountain Dew, or Sprite. They are all known as Cokes. The only time they’re not called Cokes is when you want a Dr Pepper. The Dr Pepper {don’t ever put a period after Dr} was invented in Waco and thus deserves a certain amount of respect.

Learning our pronunciation is essential for communication.

Allen's Boots Austin Texas

Texans are not fast talkers. We have a drawl that seems to turn two syllable words into three. To accommodate for our slow speech pattern, we tend to combine words or just drop the endings. We apparently don’t care for the letter g on the end of words. Take for instance these bastardized Texan words: fixin’ {fixing}, gonna’ {going}, nuttin’ {nothing} and sumpin’ {something}. Often times we simply make up our own words—libel’ta {likely to}, piddlee’o {an adjective meaning something small}, and ja’eatyet {did you eat yet}.

We don’t measure distance in miles, but rather time.

West Texas Road

Texas includes 7.4% of the nation’s total area. El Paso in West Texas is closer to California than it is to Beaumont in East Texas. King Ranch in South Texas is bigger than Rhode Island. Brewster County in West Texas is larger than the entire state of Connecticut. Texas is larger than France. Driving in Texas is not only necessary, but a big part of our culture. So, you want to know how far it is from Houston to Austin? It’s about three hours, unless you stop at the flagship Buc-ee’s in Bastrop.

Whataburger is the alpha and omega of hamburgers. Amen.

The orange and white striped A-frame building is like a beacon in the night to millions of hungry Texans. I laugh in the face of folks who swoon over White Castle or In-N-Out Burger. Obviously they haven’t yet tried a Whataburger or heard that there are 36,864 ways to customize one. The food is so good that HEB {my favorite Texas-founded grocery store—sorry Whole Foods} sells Whataburger fries, mustard, ketchup, and the best condiment invention since Tabasco—spicy ketchup. I might also add that Whataburgers are open 24-hours a day, and thus ideal for an after-bar burger rendezvous. Don’t leave Texas without trying one.

We like our expressions.

Don't mess with Texas neon sign

It takes a Texan ten minutes to tell a five-minute story. It’s not just because we talk slowly, but also because we’re very much into our expressions. Here are a few common phrases:

This ain’t my first rodeo.

Like lipstick on a pig

Come hell or high water

That dog won’t hunt.

Rode hard and put up wet

Dumb as a box of rocks

Busier than a $2 whore on nickel night

Useless as tits on a boar

Like a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest

Sweatin’ like a whore in church

Madder than a wet hen

Doesn’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of

Bless your heart {Can’t believe I forgot this one! Thanks, Donna.}

I suggest dusting off those eighth grade English skills and use context clues to figure out what we’re talking about. If that doesn’t work then just ask. We’ll certainly take amusement in explaining.

Chicken fried steak is not poultry.

Texas Chicken Fried Steak

The state dish of Texas may be chili, but the chicken fried steak, simply known as CFS, is probably the most beloved meal. It can be found from cafés to high-end restaurants in big cities and small towns. What is a CFS? It’s wiener schnitzel’s first cousin.

Take a piece of steak and pound it senseless or until it’s about ¼ inch thin. Dredge it in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Then dip it in an egg and milk wash. Repeat this process twice and then throw it in a skillet with hot oil. Fry it on both sides and then cover the CFS with cream gravy. Serve it with a side of mashed potatoes and fried okra and you’ve got yourself the Texas version of comfort food.

Kolaches and tacos—it’s what’s for breakfast

Forget IHOP, Denny’s, Dunkin’ Doughnuts, and the Waffle House. When you’re in Texas, that dog won’t hunt {See what I did there?}. Thanks to our Czech and Mexican influences, we have kolaches and tacos for breakfast.

Tex-Mex Restaurant West Texas

You can find a breakfast taco anywhere in the state, from mom and pop taquerias to fast food joints like Taco Cabana {a Texas chain that obliterates Taco Bell}, Sonic, and Whataburger. The concept is simple: flour tortilla, scrambled eggs, and anything else you’d like thrown in. In West Texas and the Panhandle, they often are breakfast burritos, which are the same thing, only larger.

We have Czechs who immigrated to Central Texas in the late 19th century to thank for our love of the kolache. What is a kolache? Well, they are yeast bread filled with sweetened cheese or fruit. Kolaches have since evolved into yeast bread filled with sausage, ham and cheese, bacon, and eggs, though traditionalists eschew the savory version.

Central Texas Czech Kolaches

The devotion to kolaches has spawned chains like the Kolache Factory, which is great when you’re in an urban area. However, along the highways and in small towns is where you’ll find the most delicious kolaches. Central Texas gas stations double as bakeries {another reason why our gas stations are the best}, with my favorite being Hruska’s in tiny Ellinger. Though, the most well known place for kolaches in the state is probably the Czech Stop in the town of West. It’s so beloved that after a recent massive explosion occurred in West, the second question everyone asked was “Is the Czech Stop still there?” Seriously.

For more information on the great Texas kolache, Czech out this article.

When it comes to bar-b-que, beef is boss.

Texas Bar-B-Que

In Texas, we love our beef, but that’s not to say that we discriminate against other delicious proteins. Bar-b-que is actually a cooking method that involves meat being smoked over wood at low temperatures. Any and all meat can be deemed bar-b-que in Texas, as long as its been smoked over mesquite, oak, or the like. Turkey, chicken, sausage, pork, and cabrito {that’s goat in Spanish}, are also available on menus.

With that being said, if you’ve eaten bar-b-que in Kansas City, Memphis, or the Carolinas, then you haven’t really had bar-b-que. In Texas, beef is boss and pork is a minion. We don’t have pulled pork and our ribs are rarely baby back. Pork is used in sausage, but that’s just about it. Beef brisket is far-and-away the most popular and beloved item on any menu. Sliced brisket is standard, as is a chopped brisket sandwich. Here’s a tip: Just get a three-meat plate and try a little bit of everything. It’s hard to go wrong with bar-b-que in Texas, especially in Central Texas.

This easily could be a ten-part series, as we Texans are a unique bunch with a culture all our own. We’re not Southerners and we’re not Western. We’re simply Texan. I believe the great writer, John Steinbeck, described us best:

“I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that. It is a mystique closely approximating a religion. And this is true to the extent that people either passionately love Texas or passionately hate it and, as in other religions, few people dare to inspect it for fear of losing their bearings in mystery or paradox. But I think there will be little quarrel with my feeling that Texas is one thing. For all its enormous range of space, climate, and physical appearance, and for all the internal squabbles, contentions, and strivings, Texas has a tight cohesiveness perhaps stronger than any other section of America. Rich, poor, Panhandle, Gulf, city, country, Texas is the obsession, the proper study, and the passionate possession of all Texans.”

Yes, Mr. Steinbeck, Texas is a state of mind, a blissful, happy state of mind.

Sign up to receive news and updates!

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Todd Harris
    October 8, 2013

    Once again you are so right on!!! Amazing love reading all your stuff.
    I may not be a natural Texan, but I got here as fast as I could. 29 yrs and counting.

    • Jose damian salazar
      December 1, 2015

      You forgot one of the best ones here dairy queen !!!!

  • Lisa Hardy
    October 8, 2013

    Fantastic blog post. I’m a Brit but love Texas and try to go there to stay with friends every year! I’m off there in 41 days and yes I’m counting!!
    Love all about Texas; The people; the food and so much more.

    • Cara Russell
      October 8, 2013

      My fiance is a Brit as well and planning on moving here next year, I’m hopeful and excited he will enjoy living here! Enjoy your time in Texas, we are always glad to have you.

    • deb
      August 6, 2014

      Whole Foods is owned by HEB. YOU have to try kaloches in Hillje, Tx at Prasek’s and all Czech bakeries in Schulenberg, Tx. Not all of us call a carbonated drink a “coke”. I’ve been here all 55 years life, and I don’t say “fixin’to” or as some Texans day, I gotta”fix” something for Super! What’s broken? Of course, many of us say, “soda water” instead of pop or soda pop. Want some authentic most delicious food? I’d you’re in San Antonio, Tx, you must travel along Hildebrand. That’s where you’ll find the best Mexican food! I hope many of you don’t stereotype many of us Texans as overweight grease-filled junkies. I’m a proud Mexican-American Tejana, who doesn’t say “fixin’ to”, and I now tend to shy away from sodas. But, yes, we Texans are commonly friendly bunch. THANK YOU, AND HOW CAN I HELYOU?

      • Rebecca
        August 26, 2014

        Whole Foods is not owned by HEB. HEB owns Central Market which is a competitor of Whole Foods.

    • deb
      August 6, 2014

      I am probably replying to the wrong post, but I want to agree with whomever stated that Shipley’s doughnuts are the best! So TRUE! !!

  • Cacinda Maloney
    October 8, 2013

    Ahhh!!! I loved this post Miss Leah! It makes me remember how long it has been since I had those thoughts and images in my head, like traipsing down memory lane. Texas, it has been a long time, but I can never get you out of my mind! And thumbs up to the Allsup’s burrito and, of course, Dr Pepper! Childhood memories!

    • Jose damian salazar
      December 1, 2015

      Me I live in San Antonio Texas and i love the food and everything . Mostly dairy queen and big red

  • Megan
    October 8, 2013

    i lived in texas a couple of times throughout my life and i think you definitely hit the nail on the head….with them all!

    for the longest time i struggled with the word ‘fixin’. i just couldnt grasp it. and sometimes, 8 years after living in texas, i catch myself saying it!

  • Scott - Quirky Travel Guy
    October 8, 2013

    This is very timely since I’ll be in San Antonio in two weeks. I’m looking forward to the culture shock! Except for the Coke thing. Calling all carbonated beverages Cokes makes no sense and my brain cannot handle that. If I don’t return from this trip alive, it will probably be due to an unfortunate Coke-related argument with someone 🙂

    • Lisa
      October 8, 2013

      Don’t worry Scott! In San Antonio just order the margarita!

    • Radar
      October 9, 2013

      That “coke” thing is just a myth. Not ever been true. I drink sprite, so of course I don’t ask for a Coke. Born and raised Texan, been here for 39 years, TYVM. So don’t you worry about that. And that picture is not a proper Kolache. It should be a sausage with or without cheese or jalapeno inside.

      Shipley’s is a Texas staple that always gets overlooked. The best donuts in the world!

      • Chris
        October 10, 2013

        Thank you! I completely agree. Calling everything a coke is illogical. I use soda for a generic term, but most of the time I use whatever I specifically want, like “let’s go get a Pepsi.”

        • Leah Walker
          October 10, 2013

          Of course it’s illogical! Haha! But, really, let’s talk about your wanting a Pepsi. Talk about illogical. 😉

          • Chris
            October 10, 2013

            Ha ha! Sorry I like good stuff. Or I should say, sorry you don’t. Dr Peppper is like carbonated vomit. And Coke works only when there’s no Pepsi. (Are we rehashing the “Cola wars”?)

          • Cara Russell
            October 10, 2013

            Pepsi? I don’t know one Texas unless they are too young to know better that likes Pepsi!! lol Give me a Dr. Pepper any day! 🙂

          • Wayne
            October 10, 2013

            I would never drink a bourbon and “pepsi”…seriously? When I was a kid we would go visit relatives in New York or Rhode Island, they laughed every time I asked if I could have a Coke with dinner. They would respond yes and then I would say “good do you have Dr Pepper?” Logical or not, if you are a native Texan every carbonated drink starts with Coke.

            Texas Friendly totally freaks out our visitors when they come for the first time. Smiling and asking how are you doing(?) does not mean we are flirting or trying to pick you up. We just want you to know that everything is “Great in Texas” and we are just happy to be here. Look us in the eye and say hello, you will get a warm friendly smile in return.
            God Bless TEXAS!

          • WesTexan
            March 29, 2014

            I’m a native born Texan—goin’ on 69 years. I can say with all certainty, it’s always been “coke.” And if the waitress says, “Will Pepsi be alright?” I simply tell her to bring me iced tea. (If you want to see culture shock, try ordering “iced tea” in London!) Thanks, Leah.

      • Leah Walker
        October 10, 2013

        The Coke thing would only be a myth if it weren’t true. I use it. My friends use it. My family uses it. I hear strangers using it. So, since these are generalizations, it’s obviously not true for everyone in the entire state of Texas, just like not everyone is polite. 😉

        In regard to the kolache, that is a picture of a traditional Czech kolache. The history of the kolache by Czech settlers in Texas is written about in the article I linked to. The traditional kolache began with fruit filling. This was also confirmed to me by Czechs. I went to Prague twice this year and had a kolache or two from the mother land. They were plum and apricot.

        Shipley’s is the BEST! It’s the only doughnut shop I’ll visit. I totally forgot about it, but you can be it will be in part two!

        • Cara Russell
          October 10, 2013

          I was about to say the exact thing, I’ve lived all over Texas and asking for a “coke” is very common when referring to any carbonated beverage, also Leah is 100% right, Klobasniks are the “kolaches” you are referring to with meat/sausage and/or cheese. A traditional Czech Kolache has fruit filling and is like a pastry!

        • Betty G
          October 13, 2013

          Maybe I can clear this up. When making a grocery list or sending someone out for groceries, “Cokes” is on that list. It is clear that “cokes” means: Coke, Dr. Pepper, Sprirte, etc… may even include bottled water. Someone else, may ask: Cokes? Dr. Pepper?Sprite,? Root Beer… to remember or to make their own list. Hardly anyone ever says; “get some sodas or carbonated beverages.” (btw, check out Dr. Pepper Museum, Dublin, TX)

        • Richard
          October 16, 2013

          Many of the things here I can attest to as also common to Oklahoma. There’s a Kolache festival in Prague Oklahoma and the kolaches there are just as you describe them.

          Everything was Coke for me for years until I found that others just don’t get it out of the area. I remember as an 8 or 9 year old telling a Memphis TN waitress that I wanted an “orange Coke”—meaning a Sunkist orange soft drink–and we had a definite failure to communicate as she’d never heard of it.

          Pork ribs are largely unknown in my part of Oklahoma. And sauce on brisket is still a sacrilege to some. All this food talk is making me hungry. I’m fixin’ to go get a Whataburger right now; see y’all later.

        • Joe
          February 28, 2014

          I don’t know anyone who only calls sodas ‘cokes.’ You’re still right in saying that ‘pop’ is weird though.

        • Diane
          September 29, 2015

          I’m of Czech descent on both sides and you’re correct Leah.
          The picture is correct and kolache did start with fruit and/or cheese. My grandmother made them both. Hubs and I are Winter Texans almost every year either to the Hill Country or Coast…first time we came noticed the friendliness of Texans first off… wouldn’t go anywhere else 🙂 Great article!

      • Cheryl
        October 10, 2013

        You’re wrong about saying the picture isn’t a proper Kolache. My mother in law is Czech-German and that is exactly how she makes them.

      • Louanne
        October 28, 2013

        I was a server in Texas at all levels of restaurants from low end Mexican to high end Del Frisco’s and Bob’s Steak and Chop House and every.single.night. someone ordered a “coke” and I had to confirm which type they wanted.

      • AT Rodriguez
        November 1, 2013

        Uh yeah no those ARE proper kolaches. They are made with fruit. Kolaches with meat that we mistakenly call “Kolaches” are TECHNICALLY KLOBASNEKS. Source: Czech Grandma from Weimar.

        And Shipleys is by far not the best donuts. They are pretty much agreed upon to be garbage.

      • Sharlie
        December 29, 2013

        Wrong about the kolache, sorry. But a pig in a blanket, which is what you have described, started being called a kolache because they begun to be sold at the kolache shops as an alternative to the true kolache.
        Nita’s in Crosby, Texas can fill you in on the history and feed you some of the best ever made in Texas.
        I am a native Texan as well, but I’ve got 20 years on you. History gets revised daily…..

        • Leah Walker
          January 17, 2014


      • Dawn Galvan
        February 24, 2014

        I have always lived in Texas, and I always tell my friends “let’s go get a Coke” meaning lets go to Allsup’s and get a soft drink, being a Dr Pepper, Sprite, or Big Red…..so yeah Coke means soft drinks.

      • LittleCzechGirl
        March 7, 2014

        Radar, the kolaches are very authentic. The sausage ones that are so tasty are really pigs-in-a-blanket made with kolache dough. Growing up, my grandmother would talk on the phone in Czech to all of her Czech friends and relatives. Boy, oh, boy, did I wish I could have understood what they were saying! But yes, the pictures shows real kolaches. The sausage kind are the afterthought. And as a native of Austin, I grew up saying “soda” or “soda water”. We moved to Missouri when I was 10 and it took me forever to figure out what “pop” was. But my favorite part of this article is the pronunciations. I remember looking up the work “libel” to use it in an middle school paper I was writing, and I was SHOCKED that I couldn’t find the proper definition! 😉

      • vcastille
        December 2, 2014

        Coke thing is most certainly not a myth. You don’t ask for a coke and expect a Sprite. Somebody says, ” Do you want a coke” (notice lower case “c”?) “Yeah! That sounds good!” ” What kind would you like?”. Lived it, loved it asked it and answered it many, many times in my childhood. Born and raised, been here 56 years-(maybe that’s why). My thirty-something children don’t say it. Being of German descent and having kin in La Grange, again, the originalkolache is sweet. The savory is something I suspect city dwellers came up with. Finally, yes, Shipley’s are the best donuts on the planet bar none!

      • jaz
        October 13, 2015

        Actually the coke thing isn’t a myth. I say it every time, or sometimes I’ll just say the name of the coke I want. We never used “pop” or “soda”, it’s always been “coke”. Not only me, but also my friends, my family, and majority people around me when I’m out say coke. I’m a born and raised Texan as well, maybe it’s just where you’re from.

      • Becky
        February 6, 2016

        I’m 54 and the “coke” thang has always been . except to my grandaddy it was sody water… There are a lot of implants now that it may be going away… JEEZE I hope not…A Kolache USED to be a sweet but again it has changed to include the sausage and egg as the author states…

      • Cc
        December 28, 2016

        I’m a native Texan and we grew up calling all soft drinks “soda water”. I never heard all soda waters called cokes, that’s a yankee term and was never or hardly ever used prior to about 1990.

    • Ross
      February 25, 2014

      If I say Coke, I mean CocaCola , If I say sprite , I mean sprite , If I say Pepsi , please get me medical help , I must have hit my head pretty hard !

    • Luke
      March 2, 2014

      Actually a lot of this is untrue. She’s just playing up the usual texas stereotypes. I’ve lived here all my life and everyone i know says soda (not pop though, nobody says pop.) Oh and the Texas way of speech is also pretty false. People in the cities and even people in small towns typically do not say “sumpin” and “pidleeo.” Basically those two topics are bullshit.

      • John
        March 9, 2014

        Luke, about what you said–that dog don’t hunt. It depends entirely on your age. I’m in my middle 50s and it’s all pretty accurate from that perspective. I have to say that young urban Texans today are about as Texan as Yankees. They’ve completely lost many of the wonderful aspects of our culture that gave us a unique identity. But for those traveling to Texas, all you have to do is head out of the urban centers to find that the unique flavor of Texas can still be found. That’s all I have to say–I’m fixin’ to grab a Coke (Dr. Pepper) and hit the hay.

        • Becky
          February 6, 2016

          I agree with you…

      • Jim Beam
        November 22, 2014

        Yes it’s true. Native texans like me (I’m 41) frequently say “soda”. I think it’s more of a myth that has been conjured up that we call everything Coke.

        Kolaches with sausage are klobasniks. Real kolaches have fruit, poppy seed or cream cheese.

        I think most of the saying on their are just generic southern or country. Not Texas-specific.

        One thing that should have been on there was don’t schedule anything business related on a Wednesday night since that’s when so many of the conservative churches have a church service.

    • Stormy Guidry-Malveux
      April 23, 2014

      This is really not correct,very seldom do I hear people say Coke as a definition to mean “all soda”. Now a lot people use the term soda water. UNLESS YOU’RE A NORTHERN TRANSPLANT,PLEASE DON’T USE THE WORD POP! Texans don’t use that word, at all.

    • Brigette McLaughlin
      July 6, 2014

      The ‘coke’ thing is not all that true. I am a Texan born and raised and ya my family says coke but we specify. If you goto a restraint In north Texas we also ask ‘would you like a soft drink’ so don’t be too worried

    • Caitlin Gregory
      September 28, 2016

      Coke thing isn’t true, we either call or soda or just what it’s actual specific brand name is

  • The Travel Fool
    October 8, 2013

    I grew up eating Whataburger. My dad was a fireman in Corpus Christi and the very first Whataburger was next to his fire station. He knew the guy that started it and I have had more than a few. I remember when they sold soda in glass one gallon jugs to take home. Great article.

    • Betty G
      October 13, 2013

      I live in Virginia…. I miss Whataburger!

  • The Travel Fool
    October 8, 2013

    the first Whataburger was on Ayers Street in Corpus Christi Tx. My father was a fireman and worked at the fire station next door when it opened.

  • Nicole
    October 8, 2013

    I’m born and raised in Texas, and all of this is so true! I love living in Texas, and everything about it. For all you new folks, you’ll love it, its truly amazing living here(:

  • Nicole
    October 8, 2013

    I find that interesting that Texans use time to measure distance as opposed to miles. In northern california, people use time. If someone says: “it takes 40 minutes to get to Lodi,” then it will really take 40 minutes to get there. Traffic isn’t a problem. In southern california, where traffic is a problem, people will say: “it’s about 2 miles away.” But, the time to get there is totally different depending on where you’re located and the time of day.

  • Raul (@ilivetotravel)
    October 8, 2013

    Excellent post! I will say Bless Your Heart is common all around the South, not just Texas, and it is a way to make any statement BE charitable, no matter what precedes it. For example, “Wow, so-and-so is such a b–ch. Bless her heart.” See, what would have been a nasty statement on so-and-so is now totally kind-hearted.

    On a different topic, though I am a pork fanatic (of course, because I am of Cuban descent), I have to admit that the BBQ in Texas is phenomenal.

  • Kathleen Cawthon
    October 9, 2013

    I loved your toast to Texas. It is right on! Especially the Whataburgers and Buc-ees! I was born in Houston but lived for 45 years in South Texas “45 minutes” west of Corpus in Alice, TX which is home of the 2nd Whataburger. It was owned and operated by the Joe Andrews, Sr. Family. The son, Joe Alvin Andrews, Jr., was in my graduating class of WAHS (Alice) 1962. The Andrews family went on to own all Whataburgers in San Antonio, Laredo, Beeville and other South Texas towns. Sadly, Joe Sr. and Jr. are passed but Joe’s sister Kathy still operates the stores. Several other families from Alice also became Whataburger owners in other areas of Texas such as the SA Black Family who started Whataburgers of East Texas in Tyler. His daughters still own and operate them in Longview, Marshall, and most of the East Texas area. Buc-ees is also family owned. Texas is a great big state for great big ideas! Just ask Whataburger and Buc-ees and Cheesemakers, Inc. Whose brands are: JAIMITO authentic Mexican Style Cheeses and LONE STAR Chevre (fresh goat cheese) owned and operated by the James C. Keliehor family and sold nation wide in the finest restaurants.

  • samantha
    October 9, 2013

    I’m not from Texas but I have a ton of family there and the first time I ever visited I had a small culture shock! So interesting to see and I had a great time there. People are so nice!

  • Joyce Tolbert
    October 9, 2013

    I first came to Texas when I was 10 years old. At that young age, I realized the people were friendlier and more welcoming, much more so than the people in my born-state of Missouri. When I was taken back to Missouri when I was 12 years old, I swore that after I became the age of 18 and graduated high school, I was coming back to Texas to stay. Telling classmates this in Missouri did not garner me too many friends. I don’t remember exactly why, but in high school, in Missouri, I was dubbed “Jose”, I would guess because of my outspoken love of Texas. I had no trouble speaking Texan and fixin’ to go over yonder. Then Governor Mark White, when I wrote to him about my love for Texas and Texas in my soul, sent me back an official document from the State of Texas, naming me an Honorary Texas Citizen, which still hangs on my hallway wall with all my family and friends’ pictures. I had no choice in where I was born, but I have had a choice since 1967 in where I live my years out. Friends have asked me to move closer, so many times, I can’t recall. But, I tell them that if it isn’t in Texas, I can’t live there. Thank you, Mark White for my honorary citizenship and thank You, God, for the great State of Texas!

  • Molly
    October 9, 2013

    Great article! I have a friend from Chicago who lives here and we still banter over her use of pop LOL

    That being said, the English major in me must point out an incorrect word being used here. In “Often times we simply make up our own words—libel’ta {libel to},” your translation should be “liable to,” as in “likely to do or to be something,” not libel as in written defamation. 😉

    • Leah Walker
      October 10, 2013

      Also being an English major, I welcome your editing eye. You’re absolutely right, and I have corrected that error. Thank you!

  • Robin
    October 9, 2013

    You forgot figured. As in I figured. I say that a lot and have had to explain it to a few Pittsburghers over the last 10 years. I didn’t see y’all on there (a lot of peoole from WV use it here and put the apostrophe wrong as ya’ll) I grew up in Midland/Odessa and a chicken fried steak is chicken. Beef/steak was always called a country fried steak.

    • Leah Walker
      October 10, 2013

      Oh yeah, figured is a good one. I use it all the time.

      I grew up about two hours from Midland/Odessa, I remember seeing country fried steak and chicken fried steak used interchangeability. Now, the further south and east you go, it seems to only be chicken fried steak that’s used. However, when it comes to poultry, I’ve only seen it as chicken fried chicken.

      • Chris
        October 10, 2013

        Yes, chicken fried chicken is…well….chicken. Chicken friend steak or country fried steak is ALWAYS beef. Glad you mentioned that.

    • RH
      January 17, 2014

      Have to disagree. Longtime West Texan here. the only time I ever heard the term “country fried steak” was when I lived out of the Republic during a two year construction project in Baton Rouge, LA. The exception are the franchise restaurants that have invaded the land of beautiful sunsets from the deep south…

      Chicken Fried Steak is beef. PERIOD.

      Don’t believe me, come to Lamesa for the Chicken Fried Steak Festival, April 25 – 27, 2014 . There ain’t no cheekin in them steaks….

      BTW, we may have passed one another on those dirt roads…

      • Leah Walker
        January 17, 2014

        Ok, so I’m adding the Chicken Fried Steak Festival to my bucket list. YUM!

  • Robin
    October 9, 2013

    What about DQ? The stop sign of Texas. There’s no steakfingers (anywhere) in PA and at DQ they’re mostly just ice cream and sometimes burgers and hot dogs…no fried burritos, nachos, steak fingers, etc.

    • Leah Walker
      October 10, 2013

      I’m sensing a part two! Let’s back up…no steak fingers at the DQs in PA? That’s just appalling. I’m going to have a basket of steak fingers in honor of you this weekend, Robin.

      • Ana
        October 10, 2013

        Leah, I was confused and appalled to learn you could not get a “Dude” at DQ’s outside of the State of Texas. A cousin from up north came to visit, recounting tales of DQ’s that served only ice cream much like a Baskin Robbins. This just further confirms I should never leave the Great State of Texas. To many unnatural occurrences taking place out there! lol

      • Gary Perkins
        October 10, 2013

        Yep, DQ was my first job. It was interesting to learn that here in Texas, Texas DQ operates under it’s own brand, “Texas Country Foods”, which is completely seperate from Dairy Queen’s standard brand. I couldn’t imagine walking into a Dairy Queen with no Dude, Country Baskets, T-Brand Tacos, or *gasp* no Hungr-Busters!

  • Salika Jay
    October 9, 2013

    Wow, what a great guide for anyone who wants to visit Texas! Haven’t been to Texas but when the time comes, I know few things to do 🙂

  • Raymond Waruhari
    October 9, 2013

    This is just great. I happened to have visited Texas once and I admit that I had a great time there.

  • Victoria
    October 9, 2013

    It is Nice ‘n comfortin’ to know I remember and recognize and relate to these 10 Things to Know. As a Native Texan, I have never ‘lost’ bein’ one. Proud to be a Texan.

  • Micah
    October 9, 2013

    great post!

    by the way, the kolache is the sweet version and the savory one with sausage is called a klobasnik.

    • Leah Walker
      October 10, 2013

      Thanks, Micah! Thanks for the info on the klobasnik. Makes sense as it sounds like it comes from kielbasa.

  • Phil
    October 9, 2013

    I am a tall Texan. I have been out of state many times. But it is always good to come back home. I consider all other stats foreigners. We welcome you to our state. We will say “Hi Ya’ll” when we meet you on the street. I have never heard of people greeting you in New York.

  • Roland
    October 9, 2013

    liked the article,,,, however,,,, those are pork ribs on the bbq pic,,,, :),,, otherwise,,, really enjoyed it,,,, thanks!

  • Charu
    October 9, 2013

    Isnt’ beef always the boss? I loved my time as a vegetarian in Texas, was very surprised! They’d give the shirt off their backs for you

  • @mrsoaroundworld
    October 9, 2013

    Loved loved loved this! So pleased I got my first taste of Texas with you! And please send me some Kolaches. The expressions cracked me up, btw!

  • James
    October 9, 2013

    Interesting. I am not lying, my mouth literally began to water when I read the word “Whataburger.” I love those hamburgers. Don’t ask me why, they’re just better.

  • Freddy Farkle
    October 9, 2013

    You say beef is boss, but you have a picture of pork.

    • Leah Walker
      October 9, 2013

      Thanks for stopping by! I also said that our ribs are rarely baby backs, that we don’t discriminate against other proteins, and to get a three-meat plate, which is pictured.

  • GrandmaLynda
    October 9, 2013

    I am a 4th generation Texan, born and raised. I didn’t leave Texas until I was 45 years old and moved to Hollywood to be a TV writer. It was then that I discovered the HUGE difference in Texans and everyone else. The warmth, friendliness that I used to expressing was viewed as “rude” and “inappropriate” by certain Hollywood types. Others loved it. My drawl was maligned and laughed at although my grammar was impeccable. One of the executives I worked for said I sounded like a “hick” and that assessment was predicated only on my Texas drawl. Strangely enough, his wife had a thick British accent that was stodge and stiff and he had the nerve to demean me due to my regional accent.

    It became quite clear that California was NOT Texas; in fact, it didn’t hold a candle to my home state. I must admit, I was very put off by the deportment of the people with whom I was forced to associate. They were rude, cold and assumed much, while knowing little or nothing, about Texas. The more I was there, the more I realized how wonderful being Texan was. We are a different breed of ducks; proud, caring, basically honest, hard working, don’t take any bull off anyone but will give you the shirt off our backs and a drink of our last ounce of water if you need it. Texas and Texan are a state of being, not just a place on the globe. Those who were not born in Texas, are immigrants, claim to be Texans almost immediately. How many people do you know that moved to Texas and call themselves “Texan” when they were born elsewhere? But a Texan who moves somewhere else is a “Texan” no matter WHERE he goes. That is because being a “Texan” means something, good or bad, EVERYONE knows about Texas. I went to China in 2005 and met a group of school children in the Summer Palace in Beijing. They spoke perfect English, by the way. They asked if I was an American. I said, “Yes, I am from Texas. Do you know where Texas is?” They all jumped up and down in affirmation. One asked me if I had a horse. I wonder how many other states they would know?

    If you have no experienced Texas, put it on your bucket list. It is worth the experience and you will come away with a better understanding why Texas is REALLY the biggest state in the union and it isn’t due to her size alone. None can match her greatness.

  • Deise
    October 9, 2013

    I simply loved your blog! I haven’t been to Texas, though, but I really want to!

  • Kim New
    October 9, 2013

    I’m nor usually a person who corrects other people, but on the one saying, you put Hell or high water, but that should read hail or high water. 🙂

    • Leah Walker
      October 10, 2013

      You know, I was once confused as to whether it was hell or hail. Combined with “high water” it makes sense that it would be hail. However, when I looked it up many years ago, I found that the phrase came from the cattle drive days when the cattle had to keep going through heavy rain (high water) and hell (extreme heat).

      Also, here’s the idiom in the dictionary: http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/come+hell+or+high+water

      • Candace
        October 10, 2013

        Of course, we Texans pronounce it the same whether it’s spelled “hell” or “hail.” 😉

    • Sharlie
      December 29, 2013

      I am a person who usually corrects other’s grammar as I’ve been paid to edit and proofread many publications, but the saying “Hell or high water” is exactly that….”hell” or high water, not “hail” or high water. The postal system has used a similar jingle neither rain, nor sleet, nor hail, nor snow, will stop the US Post Office. That could be what you were thinking.

  • Hogga
    October 9, 2013

    gas station food is amazing

  • lola
    October 9, 2013

    i miss HOME!

  • Erin at The World Wanderer
    October 9, 2013

    So, I have been to Texas once, and while I didn’t expect to, I totally fell in love with it. Need to get back there sometime soon, mostly for all this food that you just mentioned…

  • anitavacation
    October 9, 2013

    We got guns and ain’t ‘fraid to use ’em.

    We believe in the death penalty so behave!

    • Leah Walker
      October 10, 2013

      Folks are floored when I tell them I have three guns. I mean, absolutely shocked.

  • Chris
    October 10, 2013

    Ha ha! Some of these are great! Decent list, but with some inaccuracies. Namely, barbecue is not barbecue unless it is cooked in some sauce. There’s plenty of good Texas barbecue that gets it right. It’s more than just grilling meat over wood. Calling a catfish a feline doesn’t make it so. Hope you have a great week!

    • Leah Walker
      October 10, 2013

      It depends on what part of the state you’re in as to whether it’s cooked in sauce. Some places use a dry rub. My favorite place is Cooper’s in Llano, and they apply the sauce after the meat is cooked, and only if you give them permission. BBQ isn’t about grilling. It’s more about smoking. That’s the cooking method. I love your catfish/feline comment. I’m totally stealing that! 🙂

      • Chris
        October 10, 2013

        Steal away. 🙂

      • Kathy
        October 13, 2013

        When you talk about BBQ, don’t forget The Salt Lick in Driftwood! If you like dry rub, you’ll looooove this place! You can get it “family style”, which is ribs, sausage and brisket, potato salad and cole slaw, all brought out in big bowls and plates to share with the table. Eat till you’re full…they’ll just keep bringing more! It’s BYOB, so don’t forget your cooler on wheels! You’ll sit at long picnic-style tables with folks you may or may not know and if you’re lucky in the winter, you’ll be able to get a table in the main room with the big, rock fireplace 🙂
        Another great thing about The Salt Lick is that they’ll mail to your lost Texas friends who have been forced to leave our great state!

  • Alicia
    October 10, 2013

    Good article! Everything was pretty spot on except the thing about calling every beverage Coke. Not in the least bit true. You say Coke when you want a damn Coke and you call whatever else you want by it’s name. And CFS? Now you’re just making stuff up. It’s Chicken Fried Steak. And can we get a better picture representing our amazing BBQ?!?! That one is not doing us justice, girl.

    • Leah Walker
      October 10, 2013

      The Coke thing is true, though not for everyone. These are generalizations. When I say to my friends, “Hey, let’s go to Sonic and get a Coke.” Everybody knows that I’m really getting a cherry limeade. And CFS is simply an acronym for chicken fried steak. And you’re right, I should have used a better pic for the BBQ. Check out the article linked in that section about the best BBQ in Central Texas. There’s some meat porn for you there. 😉

    • RH
      January 20, 2014

      Sorry Alicia….but that’s the way it is. Coke is anything. Welcome to Texas darlin’….

  • Dave
    October 10, 2013

    Well, I hafta say Little Texas had it right with their song “God Blessed Texas” i’ve only been through texas once going through the “Panhandle”, BUT!!! What remember most, was that even if I was a visitor, i was welcomed like an ol friend! so again, i quote lIttle Texas, “Mmmmmmmmmmm, God blessed Texas!”

    • Leah Walker
      October 10, 2013

      I spent the better part of my childhood in the Panhandle, and I have to agree about the folks being super friendly. I’d be willing to say that they are the friendliest in the whole state (including the South Plains of the Panhandle). I’ve lived in every part of Texas except for the Valley.

  • Pola (Jetting Around)
    October 10, 2013

    I’m down with taco sauce, even from a gas station! And I like measuring distance in time… You know, I need to go back to Texas and see more places (so far I’ve only been to San Antonio) – Austin would probably be my #1.

    P.S. I can’t believe the state is bigger than Poland…

    • Leah Walker
      October 10, 2013

      You know, you do need to get back to Texas, and I need to be involved in that trip. We probably have a few counties in West Texas that combine to be bigger than Poland.

  • Marnie scassa
    October 10, 2013

    You know what I latched onto there? There is a new Buccees?! Yay! Apparently I need to hit 290 more often! Lol, I love this list. Native of San Antonio, I lived in Colorado for a time and got back as quick as a rattler on hot cement! It does indeed belong to us, Texas our Texas. (never try to explain the proper pronunciation of Whataburger or define ‘I usedtacould’)

  • the lazy travelers
    October 10, 2013

    but liiike, do you really say pidlee’o? please use in a sentence.

    • vcastille
      December 2, 2014

      “What? That piddlee’o thang?! My other one is much nicer.”

  • Traveling Ted
    October 10, 2013

    I have only been to Texas once, and I loved it. Went hiking in Big Bend and did a lot of driving. My favorite author is Larry McMurtry. Besides the Lonesome Dove series, he also writes a lot of contemporary books that take place in Texas, so I feel I have a decent understanding of the the state, but if I didn’t I sure do now after reading this post. Amazing how it resonated with so many people. If I wrote a post similar to this about Illinois I would be lucky to get 8.8 likes.

  • GrandmaLynda
    October 10, 2013

    That’s easy; Illinois “AIN’T” Texas. LOL

  • GrandmaLynda
    October 10, 2013

    I once met a lady in Houston who had just moved to Texas from Michigan about 6 months previous to our meeting. I asked her what she thought about Texas. She said it was hotter and more humid than Michigan, but she was getting used to it. She also said that Texans were so friendly and she couldn’t believe that strangers would start talking to her in the line at the grocery store, say “thank you” when you did something for them and “excuse me” when they inconvenienced you. She said the thing she noticed the most was all the flags. She said she was surprised at how proud Texans are. When I asked what she meant, she said she has never seen so many flags flying everywhere including homes. She said she doesn’t know a single person in Michigan that HAS a Michigan flag, much less fly it outside their homes. I had to laugh at that one because Texas flags have always flown in Texas and I doubt anyone even thinks twice about it. There is no place like Texas on this planet, or in the universe for that matter.

  • Greg Wharton
    October 10, 2013

    We have lived in San Antonio for 15 years now, and have family in Houston…
    One day about 5 years ago, we were traveling to see family in Houston, and had gotten about 20 miles outside of San Antonio on I10, and it would seem that we were out in the beginning of the middle of nowhere. when all of a sudden my wife gets her purse out and starts pulling her makeup out, and then starts applying lipstick!
    I, lovingly and in wonder, asked “what the heck are you doing?”. She then told me in no uncertain terms, “We are going to Buckee’s!” I asked “What’s a Buckee’s?” She looked at me like I’d just lost my mind and asked “You never been to Buckee’s? It’s the greatest place in the world!” They had just built one of the flagship stores on the other side of Seguin.
    Now that I’ve been, we HAVE to stop there every time we go to Houston. My mom really like their fudge!

    • Greg
      October 11, 2013

      I apologize… I believe it is spelt Bucee’s* 🙂 (spelt):)

  • Bill-Bob Bloodworth
    October 11, 2013

    I was born and raised in TEXAS and find it a bit — let’s just say, a HUGE bit appalling that Mexican food and Czech cuisine are so prominent in an analysis on local flavor. What about meatloaf — wait, that’s actually mentioned in the famous Roman cookery collection Apicius as early as the 5th century.

    (Also, not enough was said about the bathrooms.)

  • Kathy of the HavinsNest
    October 11, 2013

    Love. Love. LOVE this.

    our grandchildren are 7th generation native Texans. 🙂

  • Kathy of the HavinsNest
    October 11, 2013

    Two of my favorite Texan words are

    Idnit and its brother Didnit.

    That’s really pretty, idnit?

    The sunrise this morning sure looked pretty, didnit?

  • nubwaxer
    October 11, 2013

    as a child our family visited with in laws in tyler, tx annually–in july or august. we had bbq on arrival and after that it was ridiculous heat and humidity that was unbearable.

    • GrandmaLynda
      October 11, 2013

      Tyler humidity is nothing compared to Beaumont, Pt. Arthur, Bridge City, Orange, Houston, Galveston, and that general area. If the humidity during the summer drops below 100%, it is a “dry spell.” Thunder storms blow up off the Gulf almost every afternoon from the heat. They only last just long enough to make steam rise from the asphalt roadways. It does no good to style your hair and put on makeup because as soon as you walk out the door the humidity will make your hair fall and you begin sweating profusely making your makeup run. If you haven’t gotten your father, or a sibling to go out and cool the car down before you go out, the seats are so hot you can’t sit on them in shorts and the steering wheel will burn your hands if you touch it. Then there are the mosquitoes that are unrelenting the entire summer. You must make sure you are indoors by sunset and not go out before sunrise or you will be swarmed by blood thirsty mosquitoes. They are still around in the daytime, but at night you had better wear long sleeves and long pants if you don’t want to look like a pin cushion the next day.

      Funny thing is that those of us who were raised down in that part of Texas learned to acclimate to it. I guess you can learn to live in any conditions, after all, people in Alaska have to do without daylight part of the year and 24 hour days the other half. They have to deal with bone chilling temperatures during the winter and summers that would seem like winter the a Texan.

      Good or bad, her deserts to her wetlands, her mountains to her Gulf shores, Texas is still Texas and that is all that is important. Little inconveniences are just that for a Texan.

  • Famijoly
    October 11, 2013

    A Facebook friend linked to this article on the “news feed,” and I have to say to the author, Leah, that you provided an authentic snapshot on Texas attitudes and Texas cuisine, a very enjoyable read about my home state and what visitors can expect.

    As for the soft drink discussion, Leah hit it on the head in her most recent comment. Texans will say, “Let’s go to Sonic after school for a Coke,” but of course when they arrive at Sonic they will order their drink of choice by its brand name — Dr Pepper, Diet Dr Pepper, Sprite, Coke Zero, and even, yes, Coke. What I remember from my childhood and youth was the term “sodawater” (pronounced like one word) as a generic for carbonated soft drinks. “Let’s go huntin’ around for sodawater bottles” (in ditches and other places and then go to the store and redeem the 3-cent-per-bottle deposit). Or “let’s go to ServUQuik for a sodawater.”

    The word fixin’ being distinctly Texan surprised me when, in my 30s, I was in a grad school in Ohio that students from all over the country. In a conversation with a Tennessean one day, I used the word fixin’ like I was used to using it, as a substitute for “about” as in I’m fixin to start my term paper. The Tennessean, with his own state-marked Southern dialect, chuckled and said that word authenticated me as a Texan. I told him I thought fixin’ was a Southern expression and he said, “The only people I’ve heard use that word are Texans.” Well, I pertnear dropped my jaw at that.

    A few other things. Kolaches — I lived in West for 15 years; Czech Stop is good, but for the best go into town and try The Village Bakery. Never found a donut better than at Shipley’s. Ever. Whataburger has the best franchise burger in Texas or anywhere.

  • Christi
    October 11, 2013

    The other day I was telling someone, up here near Chicago, about how much i miss buying breakfast tacos at a gas station. Oh, and the BBQ. I’m not sure how I live without it! Fun Article!

  • texaninclogs
    October 11, 2013

    Great article Leah! I’d also like to throw out there (yes, I’m a native Texas minus 9 yrs) that, the Hill Country area, is the most beautiful section of Texas. Lovely hills, trees, creeks and rivers. Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and Houston, in my opinion are crowded urban cities now. If you are a visitor visiting Dallas, Austin, or Houston, for instance, you may not even meet a native Texan, the kind steeped in Texas lore. I think my point is, even though we’re Texans, we don’t all where cowboy boots and ride horses. But, lol, most of us ‘do’ drive a car, and hopefully, carry insurance. From my observartion, Texas has a clear, independent spirit. There’s an atmosphere of “anything is possible” concerning new business start ups, etc. And just for the record, Dr. Pepper is King, and Chicken Fried Steak is the BEST!

  • Sandy
    October 11, 2013

    As a 20 year Texan, I will add a few things I have noticed/embraced.
    Authentic Texas burger joints serve their burgers with mustard: never, ever ketchup.
    Shiner Bock.
    A phrase that can only exist in TX: “All hat, no cattle.”

  • Debbie
    October 11, 2013

    Don’t forget “hug your neck” as in “I’m gonna hug your neck” when you really love someone!

  • mateo
    October 11, 2013

    Poco Mexico (Ft. Davis, TX), my all time favorite.

  • Shane
    October 11, 2013

    Being a Texan in the military, the thing I missed the most was brisket and, in the northeast, hashed browns. Home fries are no substitute. I could always drop into a cracker barrel for CFS. I found a brisket in South Carolina, paid an appalling price, and the quality was terrible. Plus, I didn’t have a smoker to do it up right.

  • Mary Anne
    October 12, 2013

    Give me a coke! ( no really a coke )

  • Teresa Todd
    October 12, 2013

    Great insight! Just to clarify, Brewster County, at 6,193 square miles, is larger than Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island. (Texas State Directory; theus50.com)

  • GrandmaLynda
    October 12, 2013

    One word I use a lot is “dunno” (don’t know). Seems easier, I guess. I always say, since I have a BA in English, I speak 3 languages, English, ASL and Texan.

  • Resa
    October 14, 2013

    Such a great blog! My fathers family were original settlers of San Patricio County and immigrated from Ireland. A true Texan I am and have to admit growing up in South Texas, I honestly thought a yankee was anyone outside of Texas! Embarrassingly, I realized the ignorance once I started paying attention to history, about high school! Love Texas and fighting to keep our traditions so that we can remain free even if our country chooses not to 🙂

  • Lance | Trips By Lance
    October 14, 2013

    Honestly, a lot of this goes for the South in general. Or maybe just my South. I grew up in Arkansas, have lived in Texas and currently live in Memphis. Only uneducated people would call it a soda or pop. It is a Coke. I also agree about Dr Pepper. My first meal after returning the moving truck to the U-haul place our first full day in Dallas was Whataburger. I think that sometimes when I talk I sound more like Boomhauer from “King of the Hill.” The Google App on my phone never understands what I say. My son thinks it’s hysterical. I can’t help it.
    But let’s be clear about one thing: Barbecue is not nor will it ever be king in Texas. I grew up eating brisket. My family has it for Christmas. I greatly enjoy beef barbecue. But I prefer pulled pork sandwiches with cole slaw, otherwise known as Memphis style, over any other barbecue sandwich. And I’ll take my Memphis dry rub ribs any day. I’ll always be a Texan at heart, but barbecue is where I draw the line.

    Long live the memory of Tom Landry and may God bless Jimmy Johnson and Nolan Ryan.

  • Becky Padmore
    October 15, 2013

    Love it! I so want to visit one day!

    • Leah Walker
      January 21, 2014

      I’d love to show you around.

  • steveSobkowiak
    October 15, 2013

    God Bless Texas

    • Leah Walker
      January 21, 2014


  • Hilary
    October 17, 2013

    Thanks so much for this! I’m moving to The Great State of Texas next year. I wish I’d had this list when I did my scouting trip in August. Can’t wait!

    • Leah Walker
      January 21, 2014

      Welcome to Texas. The fact that you visited in August and still coming is a testament to the state’s greatness.

  • Frankie Locke
    October 17, 2013

    I’ve lived in Texas approx. 20 years off and on. I would never ask for a coke if I wanted a diet pepsi……you ask for coke, you get coke. Never heard of this!!!!!

    • GrandmaLynda
      October 17, 2013

      You may have lived here “off and on for 20 years” but it is more than obvious is was more off than on and you are not a “native” Texan because it is a widespread usage by “native” Texans. Sorry, your lack of “Texanism” is showing. You need remedial “Texan” badly to pass as a true Texan.

      • marie
        May 25, 2014

        Being a native then you would of heard that term by your parents and grand parents.

    • James
      February 21, 2014

      I’m native and I don’t get it either. I think she’s talking about west texas.

      • Texan Through and Through
        March 9, 2014

        I grew up in the Valley and have had the opportunity to live in 12 different Texas cities due to my husband’s job (oilfield). Everywhere we went (East , West, North, or South Texas) it was “coke” regardless of variety. I know I have even asked the waitress “what kind of cokes do you have” . But then even my parents were native Texans….. This was a great article and I am looking forward to Part Two.

  • JJ
    October 30, 2013

    Big hat, no cattle. Always been one of my favorite Texas expressions.

  • Amber
    November 6, 2013

    I am just dying to know where all these folks lived in Texas that NEVER heard all carbonated drinks being called cokes??!! Let me know!

    • Leah Walker
      January 21, 2014

      I’d like to know that as well. 😉

  • Cholly
    December 27, 2013

    Oh yeah! “Let’s go get a coke” doesnt literally mean coke. Everyone knows Dr Pepper is king. It ‘s your fizzy beverage of choice. In my little piece of Texas heaven, anyway. Got to love Texas, y’all.

  • James
    February 21, 2014

    I don’t think the Coke thing applies here in SETX. I’ve never once heard anyone call soda coke. (unless it was a coke)
    Also there isn’t drawl here. We talk like Cajuns, it’s fast, incoherent and frenchy.

  • Sam
    February 26, 2014

    Grew up in Dallas, live in the Tyler area now, and have used the term coke my whole life. It’s the same concept as asking for a “Kleenex” when you mean a tissue.

    I’ll be eating Coopers bbq in 2 weeks. Can’t wait. Best bbq in the country and I do my best to try it all.

    Another thing I love about Texas are the beautiful wildflowers and Bluebonnets along the highways in the spring.

    My wife is a so-Cal girl and loves it here. She would never move back. She does have this misguided idea that In n Out is better than Whataburger. But she also doesn’t like bacon, so there you have it.

    I travel for a living and it’s always nice to come home to Texas.

  • abdou
    March 4, 2014

    I’m from turkey
    I want to go to Texas in the next summer to work at a hotel there
    and so to improve my English
    I am very interested about Texas how the people look to the others

  • D Adams
    March 4, 2014

    So late to this post…but I have to agree with you on all points! Born and raised in Texas and moved to SoCal over a decade ago. Over the years my husband has fallen in love with Texas, and we’re in the process of moving back (well, back for me)! I can’t wait!!

    Oh, and Bucee’s really is a sight to behold, innit?

  • Cinda
    March 7, 2014

    Thank you for mentioning the Panhandle in your post. We usually get left out of the “best of Texas” lists, almost as if we don’t belong. Try to make it to the official Texas cheeseburger cook off in Friona this summer, and the Charles Goodnight Chuck Wagon cook off in September in Clarendon. Chuck wagon cooks call chicken fry “boot steak.”

    Everyone I know says, “We’re fixin’ to go get a Coke,” even if that’s not what they drink. And the easiest way to be labeled stuck up is to forget to “howdy” your neighbor when you pass them on the road.

  • Doris
    March 8, 2014

    I noticed not a single Texan has mentioned the word ‘tump’. My yankee acquaintances swear there’s no such word,
    but they’re wrong. When you accidentally turn over a glass of milk (or beer) and dump it out on the table or floor, you have tumped the glass of milk over. A perfectly good and descriptive word, right? Been in TX all my life and heard ‘tump’
    for the same length of time. Actually, there are a lot of things that get tumped over when you think about it. Why use
    a whole bunch of words when only one is the unmistakable description of what happened?

    • marie
      May 25, 2014

      “YES-you tumped it over right before we were fixing to leave”

      All Texans grew up with that word!

  • Lewis
    March 8, 2014

    this kinda sums up my life!

  • Donna
    March 9, 2014

    Thoroughly enjoyed your description! Agree with it all!! 🙂

  • Rebecca S
    March 23, 2014

    I’m moving to Texas over the summer and I laughed (and appreciated) your post. It’s perfect! 🙂 I will certainly keep these things in mind as I visit and nail down my final destination. Thank you!

  • Aldo
    March 26, 2014

    Always thought Texan=Redneck but now want to see the place & people for myself and will try Dr Pepper today

    • marie
      May 25, 2014

      The best Dr. Pepper is in the bottle made with real Cane Sugar,there is only 1 original bottler that still makes it the original way…and NO there’s no PRUNE juice in it.Every kid thinks that until they can read the label.

  • Mark W. Stepens
    March 31, 2014

    I don’t think the intent of the original post was to start a coke vs. all other drinks war. Its just that in Texas, all soft drinks are referred to as “Coke.” As in the typical question, “What kind of Coke you want?” and the correct response to that question, “Coke, Dr Pepper, Sprite , etc. ”

    Here in Texas, people may keep Pepsi around for the young ‘uns, but they grow out of that nonsense eventually. Of course Dr Pepper is acceptable because it was born and raised in Waco, Texas.

  • Sam Castilleja
    April 3, 2014

    And nary a soul has mentioned Big Red..the official drink of my beloved Texas

    • Leah Walker
      April 3, 2014

      That’s for part two! I used to drink Big Red as a kid and tried it again recently. Wow…it’s soooo sweet. I couldn’t finish a whole can.

  • TXlisa
    April 5, 2014

    I was born in Pennsylvania. My father was in the army and we moved when I was 3 years old. We were transfered to several states and oversees but as luck would have it ended up in Corpus Christi at age 11 in 1969. I was calling a coke soda until the other kids made fun of me. My mother in law was born in Gonzales, TX and called a coke sodawater as another poster mentioned. I have only known chicken fried steak as beef..never chicken. It just depends on what part of Texas you live in. I moved back to Pennsylvania in 2010, still have relatives here. Thought I would not miss Texas, boy was I wrong.! Being there for 41 years has made me a Texan. I can’t wait to get back there. I miss H.E.B. and whataburger so much. The folks here call all cokes soda. They say “youse guys” instead of y’all. The waitress’ at the restaurants here will say “are youse done then” instead of “could I get ya anthing else”. You can imagine how hard I laughed the first time I heard that!! They love the word then. Are youse ready to go then? I am going to the store then. I’ts kinda strange. I will say Pennsylvania is a beautiful state but the people are no match for Texans..period! I get strange looks for opening doors and smiling and saying hi to strangers (they think I’m up to somethin!) . And just try and find a Dr Pepper at a restaurant here! There is no brisket at the stores. And forget about mexican food…only taco bell.
    I MISS TEXAS!!!!!!

  • Mary
    May 5, 2014

    This was a great read! But you’ve got one thing wrong: KANSAS CITY BBQ IS THE BEST!

  • TXlisa
    May 11, 2014

    Mary: check out this link before you say Kansas city has the best bbq http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2014/05/08/tripadvisor-users-rank-best-bbq-joints-across-us/

  • marie
    May 25, 2014

    Yep you are exactly right about drinks-You ask someone”What kind of a Coke do you want?”
    and don’t forget the word Pallet(Not the wood ones)
    Its so funny- no one from out of town or even from another state will ever know what that is when you ask.
    I will use it in a sentence…
    “Go ahead and make a Pallet on the floor so the kids can sleep”
    Everyone else says”Will you get some pillows and blankets for the floor.”
    Texas is another country of its own-and that’s the way we like it:)

  • Keith
    June 4, 2014

    I agree with every thing you said in the post. The people in the Texas Panhandle are the friendliest on earth. You left out a few foods. If you want Mexican food anyplace in San Angelo is great. For BBQ Coopers in Llano is king. If you ever go through Hico stop at KOFFEE KUP FAMILY RESTAURANT for a slice of pie and take a whole pie for the ride home. If your going through West skip the crowded Czech Stop and hit the Village Bakery for your kolaches. If your ever in Shiner stop and have a beer or three. Actually you can get Shiner all over TX. If you ever have a hankering for schnitzel the The Walburg German Restaurant is the place to go. If you want a big free steak hit The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo and order the 72-ounce steak (that’s right 4.5 LBS.) and if you can eat it in under an hour it’s free. If you want some down home cooking The Blue Bonnet Cafe – Marble Falls. For Sea food Kings Inn in Kingsville. If you just have to have some fried catfish Huck’s Catfish in Denison is the second best, my old daddy’s back yard was the best and if he was still with us I’m sure I could get you an invite. If you look around Texas and notice more that a few plump people you will realize that the food in Texas is good and served in large portions.

  • Kaelea Ann
    June 17, 2014

    You’ve nailed this! I was born and raised in Texas and moved to NYC about 15 years ago to work in fashion. There was only a small angsty period in my early 20s that I tried to shed my accent, thank goodness it never really goes away! Now I am bringing my boyfriend who is from Denmark to meet my family, this will help him understand a few things. Especially when he’s fixin’ to order a “coke”!

  • Anita
    June 18, 2014

    I am 67 years young and “born and bred” Dallasite Texan. I remember when Dallas was not a big town (at least not the huge metroplex it is today). I also know that “coke” meant a carbonated beverage – except Dr Pepper was still it’s own.
    It wasn’t until all the yankees started leaving their dreary home states and moving in that I discovered “coke” did not mean the same thing to me as it did to them. So all those that claim to be Texan and say it isn’t so, have obviously been influenced by the influx of yankees (yes, anyone not from the Great State of Texas). Also, “chicken fried chicken” was simply “fried chicken” until the invasion….:)
    Loved your article

  • keith
    June 22, 2014

    for the expressions i was surprised you didn’t include, “Well aint that the pot calling the kettle black!”. My mother would say that all the time if someone was being hypocritical.

  • Aldo
    June 23, 2014

    Only found this wonderful site thanks to the greatest living Texan, Sheldon Cooper!

  • Alexis
    July 22, 2014

    Texas is boss!
    I was born and raised here, and I plan to STAY here for a good long while!

  • Kandy
    August 22, 2014

    Another Texas unique`ism….. ‘tanks’ = where the cattle go for a drink! LOL

  • JulieW
    September 3, 2014

    You forgot about Blue Bell!! I don’t see how people eat outside of Texas. I have been all over the country and everywhere I ate was disgusting. Nothing was ever seasoned properly. If you notice on cooking competitions a lot of the contestants are from Texas, cause we season our food.

  • Jessica
    September 11, 2014

    You’re obviously from a big city in Texas, or aren’t even Texan at all! We don’t use those silly country expressions and definitely don’t call all sodas cokes! Regardless TEXASSS IS THE BEST!

    • Marem-Mahme Loobod
      September 24, 2014

      The name is Marem from Africa,the country Ghana.I have plans of moving to the states next year and i thought of settling in Texas.Based on my research this state is amongst the best of the best when it comes to employment,salaries,livability,safety etc however i have been told that Texans don’t like blacks and i want to know if i should look somewhere else.Thank you

  • rainy from longview
    September 26, 2014

    Leah, you got all this so right, it’s a thing of beauty!

    First of all, I don’t know which part of Texas some of y’all call home, and perhaps some of you are 1st or maybe 2nd generation Texan, but reading all these posts, it is obvious that if you think the idea of calling all soda beverages “Cokes” is completely unheard of, numerically on this site you are *in the minority*! But that’s okay with us; we’re glad to have you here regardless. 🙂

    But calling Leah out on “bullshit” as one poster did, in regard to Cokes or CFS or BBQ, whichever it was, was plain old rude. Obviously although we all speak at least a bit of Texan, there is a smattering of slight regionalisms; when you live in a state this big, it’s bound to happen! Also, a lot of people tend to grow up speaking somewhat in the way they’ve been “reared” hearing, I would possibly guess.

    I just now that I might give my left pinky-toe for a buffet of DQ steakfingers, a big juicy Whataburger with cheese, some Bodacious BBQ, and a big ol’ bowl of queso to dip ’em all in.

    Leah, I was born 46 years ago in Tyler, moved to Longview about half my life ago, so if you ever find yourself in the Piney Woods, y’all come see us. 😀

    My uncle is a retired Texas Ranger. My best friend from school had parents that owned and ran the DQ in Daingerfield. Last time I was in Waco, we had some time to kill so we took that touristy trolley thing through town, and even though I might say, Let’s go to Sonic and get a Coke, I do know that if you don’t specify and distinguish Dr Pepper anywhere else – you ought to in Waco.

    So come on down, if it’s springtime we’ll head on down to Austin (and that’s about 5 hours from here – heh) and check out SXSW, and dine on some fine Tex-Mex, in the place where you’re more likely to get served black beans with your enchilada platter than refried.

    And btw, to KC folks…. You may think the BBQ up there is good, but down here, there ain’t no comparison. It’s a whole ‘nother thang. (As my grandparents used to say about food that’s just so good there’s nothing like it anywhere else… It’s larrupin’!)

    Thanks, Leah, for doing this piece! Definitely a part two is in order!! (And our penchant for guns is probably not a secret to the lesser 49, but you might ought to give a li’l heads-up on that just in case!)

    • Leah Walker
      December 14, 2014

      Thank you for such a thoughtful reply. 😉

  • Pat Hardy
    November 13, 2014

    I was born in Houston, but raised in Southern California for most of my life.
    Anyway, you forgot one expression, “He’s all hat and no cattle”.


    • Leah Walker
      November 17, 2014

      I’m saving that for part two!

  • Alex
    February 23, 2015

    We do not call it CFS. We just say chicken fried steak (LOL.) However, you can find it on EVERY menu.

    • Leah Walker
      March 7, 2015

      Who’s ‘we’? Do you have a frog in your pocket?

  • Emmanuel
    March 12, 2015

    i love to come texas. Texas is a great place. God has blessed texas and he will keep blessing the land.

  • Pamela
    March 13, 2015

    I am a transplanted Brit living in Canada. My husband and I have traveled through the northwest portion of Texas on our way to Arizona but I want to come back and do it right. Maybe a month of traveling down dusty roads, stopping for cokes and BBQ, listening to great music and having an opportunity to wear my killer cowboy boots. There is something mystical about Texas. I loved reading all the comments regarding cokes, and chicken fried steaks and some of those saying which funnily enough are heard often here in Canada. Well, maybe not y’all but liable to, useless as tits on a bull, dumber than a bag of hammers, madder than a wet hen. Did we steal ’em from you, or t’other way ’round?

  • antonella
    April 27, 2015

    This year in September I’ll visit Texas, thanks for your advice.

  • Wes Love
    April 28, 2015

    Born and raised, and I’ll be damned if this ain’t true.

  • Jennifer
    May 15, 2015

    Very good list…but one small correction, a savory Czech breakfast pastry is called a klobasnek (not a kolache).
    -speaking as a native Texan of Czech descent.

    • Leah Walker
      May 22, 2015

      Thanks, but I never referred to a savory version in the article and the photo is of fruit kolaches.

  • Wayne
    May 16, 2015

    I have lived in Texas all of my 67 years near and in Houston and I have never heard of all sodas being called coke. That is rediculous. Coke is short for coca cola. All others are called by their respective name or flavor. However, that being said, try asking for a diet soda other than coke. Restaurants in Houston only serve diet coke, not any other brand. I think there must be a monopoly and when you ask about that they don’t have an answer. Needless to say I get frustrated because I hate diet coke. They don’t even have diet sprite and that’s a coke product. I think I am going to start taking my own with me.

    • Jennifer
      May 20, 2016

      more to add you have not been shopping for food till you go in Heb, they have some foods others stores don’t and they are a big store. Kolaches and tacos are a must for breakfast but we also like our biscuits with cream gravy and sausage( old folk sausage is the best) with salt an pepper. its not a meal or hot Day without ice cold sweet tea Lipton is the best.
      Dr peper and Pepsi were made in Texas, Not Coke products.

  • Fiona Johnston
    November 3, 2015

    My sister was born in Texas, but we never lived there actually. I’m moving to work in Texas in the middle of the next year and I have great expectations about the time I’ll spend there. Your post is the best thing that could happen to me, all the essentials you’ve shared are so helpful, the information’s great. Thank you!

  • Someone person
    March 8, 2016

    I live in Texas and I don’t know some of this stuff, dang I need to get more involved in my States culture

  • Libbi Lay
    June 23, 2016

    I live in East Tennessee and Texans don’t sound too unlike us. Very familiar with your phrases but we are nervous as a whore in church. I know what chicken fried steak is. I was a waitress many moons ago and them yankees thought it was chicken! We say all those bastardized Texan words with the exception of piddlee’o. Never heard of that one. Everything was coke then as I grew older it became pop. One thing I’ve always wondered was we have been making tamales for ages, way before we ever heard of tex-mex food. Anyway, T for Texas, T for Tennessee!!!

  • Mike
    July 21, 2016

    I am a native South Austinite. The Coke thing is true and not true because of the times. When I make a grocery list I put down Coke, not knowing what I will buy. Lots of times we just say soda water. Because most soda water is self serve in fast food joints, well you never ever even say Coke. Sweet tea is a staple in sit down restaurants. If they don’t have sweet tea, I just drink water. I am real particular about my CFS. If a restaurant just chicken fries a frozen patty, forget it. Round steak makes the best CFS. While it doesn’t happen much, country gravy on the side is the best way to serve it. Never ever use ketchup on a CFS. If you do, it must be really bad. I live in the BBQ mecca of Texas. Brisket is king. People stand in line for hours to get it. And we use no sauce on brisket. Like to see that smoke ring and the fat and the smoked meat. Now we will put sauce on pork ribs and pulled pork, but it’s not a staple. A side of potato salad and brown beans is a must with the brisket. The best thing to accompany brisket is sausage. A lot of people making sausage make machine packed sausage which is really dense. Lockhart and Elgin sausages are best cause they are not so dense. My favorite sausage is from the Gonzales Meat Market. Now the Texas lingo, I have used all of them. Fixing to, sumthin, gonna, wanna and Oh Shit are my most common expressions. Oh Shit is only used when supthin bad has happened Ya’ll to me is singular and plural. Hot damn is often used instead of the G word. Us old timers don’t like using the G word. It’s true, rarely go to IHOP cause I can get Carne Gasada breakfast tacos most everywhere. Beside at breakfast, unless I am eating supthin sweet, I need some hot sauce Kolaches are generic, don’t care is they are fruit filled or sausage filled. Whataburger is the king except most Texas towns have a old local burger joint that is sacred. In Austin, we have Dan’s, Top Knotch, Sandy’s and Huts. And yes, most native Texans are very friendly. If you go to Home Depot or Lowes, you are often helped to find something by someone that doesn’t work there. That’s just the way we were taught. I am almost 64 years old and have rarely left Texas for anything.

  • Joshua D. Mattie
    April 15, 2020

    I am just dying to know where all these folks lived in Texas that NEVER heard all carbonated drinks being called cokes?!!

  • Naresh Dahal
    February 10, 2024

    “Chicken fried steak is not poultry.” There was one friend of mine from Texas, he told me the same thing. Good to know these ideas before visiting Texas, now.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers

Have the world delivered to your inbox
Well, maybe not the whole world, but some of it. Either way, subscribe to my newsletter for news from Paris and wherever else the road takes me.