That's the interesting thing about the River House- it's a restaurant before a tea room and yet its name implies just the opposite. Chef Carol Hill has won many awards over the years (like Texas Chef of the Year) and rightly so! The food is scrumptious...so much so that it seems a little unfair that this restaurant is located in tiny Gruene, Texas and not some place larger like Austin. If you take a gander at the online menu you'll see that there's so much to choose from. From my own experience, the salads are great and I love the top round beef sandwich with horseradish. For this seating I chose the newly added fresh fruit and chicken spinach salad with blueberry vinaigrette dressing. I mention this really only because I wanted to post this picture.
|Looks good enough to eat, right?|
Let's talk about the other thing that makes this little gem of an eatery even more sparkly and that's the atmosphere. You see, Gruene encompasses two of the things that people love most about South Texas and that is river floating and the Texas country music scene. River House is right down the road from historic Gruene Hall and an entrance to our beloved Guadalupe River. Therefore, the people and visitors of Gruene are pretty casual (which is why I say this town is lucky to have such a great dining option). Consequently all the stores and restaurants remain informal in order to accommodate the river rats who wander out of the water looking for some lunch! This is very much true of the River House. Although the food is fanciful the setting is quaint.
River House Tea Room houses itself in a small one-story, three room "home" with a covered porch and attached deck. The largest room that is filled with about twelve tables accommodates most of the guests while a smaller back room is held for overflow and private parties. The taupe walls tie in well with the green floral table cloth and plaid skirts while the dark oak chairs darken the room. It's the wall nik-naks and deer antler mounts that give the place a real Americana feel.
So now onto the good stuff~
All in all the River House Tea Room offers a unique combination of dining and tea. The atmosphere is friendly and laid-back while the food speaks strongly for itself. However those are the only two things to visit this restaurant for. The afternoon tea offerings are pleasant but really not worth the price. Instead opt for a single pot of tea to accompany a warm dessert such as the Apple Cranberry Bread Pudding, a delightful end to wrap up a tasty lunch.
Please excuse Lizzie's absence from this tea tasting. She found the 100 degree temperatures unsuitable for stepping out in.