What is it about Chicken Fried Steak that causes my stomach to make a funny noise and my lips to begin smacking all by themselves?

One can’t travel without eating, and when traveling around Texas you have to order a staple, Chicken Fried Steak (CFS). The only problem is if you have too many of these, you may have to staple your stomach.

Okay, so here’s the challenge. Who makes the best CFS? Now don’t tell me it’s your uncle Bobby Joe Robbie. I want my CFS from a Café, an Inn, a hole in the wall. Somewhere that even with a good cleaning the place looks like it was dipped in CFS batter. And PLEASE don’t tell me it’s a chain. I’m not a chain eater.

I’m just beginning my journey and my first stop was in Lincoln, TX in Lee County, outside of Austin at the Elm Creek Café. Before I tell you how good it was, I beg you not to order the LARGE. It has its own zip code. The small is bigger than any human should be allowed to eat. My eyes popped out of my head and gave me that look. No way is all that going into our mouth. Well I put my eyes back, picked up my fork and knife and began my journey. Before you could spell hardening of the arteries, it was done. It was crunchy, seasoned to perfection and tender. Now that was after I ate enough fried green tomatoes to make Paula Dean jealous. Oh did I say I finished it off with a piece of Coconut Custard pie? That was a mistake in many ways.

So where to next in my quest for the best CFS? Tell me where to go, I know you want to.
Hey are you going to be in there much longer?

History of CFS as seen on Wikipedia
The precise origins of the dish are unclear, but many sources attribute its development to German and Austrian immigrants to Texas in the nineteenth century who brought recipes for Wiener schnitzel from Europe to the USA. Lamesa, the seat of Dawson County on the Texas South Plains, claims to be the birthplace of chicken fried steak, as does Bandera, Texas

Check out this Country Fried Steak Recipe video (other parts of the US call it Country, but since we invented it we call it by it’s correct name Chicken)  Go ››

This article has 161 comments

  1. Yvonne Reply

    You must try the Chicken Fried Steak at The Gristmill Restaurant in Gruene Texas!!! Its the BEST!!!

  2. Yvonne Robledo Reply

    You must try the chicken fried steak at The GRISTMILL Restaurant in Gruene Texas! Its the BEST!!

  3. Rosemary Jansen Reply

    Very nice, we’ll have to check out the Elm Creek Cafe, and SHARE a chicken fried steak – we are transplanted yankees who love trying new things, especially native cuisine, scuse me cookin’….

  4. Collin Corrington Reply

    You didn’t even hit the biggest staple of CFS greatness. The Gristmill in Gruene, TX. This is where you should have started!

  5. Beverly Closson Reply

    Hills Cafe in Austin, Texas still makes the BEST Chicken Fried Steak.

  6. Christie Smith Reply

    Good luck with this! I think there are as many good chicken fried steaks in this state as different kinds of salsa! 🙂

  7. Mandy Stewart Reply

    The best CFS in Texas is definitely at Jake & Dorothy’s in Stephenville, TX! Not to mention the BEST waffle fries ever!

  8. Joan Reply

    Chicken Fried Steak has always been one of my favorites! You have to got to try it at the Westside Cafe in Fort Worth, TX! The food is delicious and the service is always friendly.

  9. Belinda Reply

    Best Chicken Fried Steak – – – The Staghorn in Three Rivers, TX !!!!

  10. Collin Corrington Reply

    You’ve got to hit up the Gristmill in Gruene, TX. Killer CFS action going on there.

  11. Rosalie Keszler Reply

    Green Mesquite in Austin has a pretty good rendition of the good ole Chicken Fried Steak.

  12. Robyn D Reply

    Tip Top cafe in San Antonio has really good CFS, though i’m kinda partial to my boyfriend’s dads homemade one. That homemade gravy is to die for!

  13. Mandy Stewart Reply

    The best CFS in Texas is at Jake & Dorothy’s in Stephenville, TX! Not to mention the BEST waffle fries ever!

  14. Robyn D Reply

    Tip Top cafe in San Antonio has really good CFS, though i’m kinda partial to my boyfriend’s dads homemade one. That homemade gravy is to die for!

  15. Neva Stickels Reply

    Lonestar Steak House has the best CFS you have ever tasted. It covers your whole plate.

  16. Steve Scheffler Reply

    Goodson’s Cafe in Tomball, TX, has–by far–the best chicken fried steak (and chicken fried chicken) in Texas. The batter is outstanding, and when you mix it with their mashed potatoes, it is heaven.

  17. Judy Ussery Reply

    I have heard there is a super CFS in Snook,Texas and I will be trying it out during Basketball season this year.

  18. Theresa Reply

    I live in Austin and will have to try Hill’s and Threadgills and compare!

  19. Jessica Reply

    The chicken fried steak at Blue Bonnet Cafe in Marble Falls is awesome! Follow it with a piece of coconut cream pie. Or german chocolate. Or peanut butter pie.

  20. Tyler Hotzel Reply

    This seems to be a popular choice, but I am going to have to go with the Gristmill in Gruene. Maybe it’s the atmosphere or the fact that every time I have been to Gruene I have had a great time, but the Gristmill’s chicken fried steak is the best I have had.

  21. Pat McCutchin Reply

    The Monument Cafe in Georgetown can’t be beat, especially with all the fresh sides.

  22. Angela Palmer Reply

    I never thought Chicken Fried Steak looked good until I moved to Texas … guess that is because Texans make it better!!! It always looks so yummy that I can’t resist. Can’t wait to try some of these fave places!

  23. Sarah Reply

    You should also try the CFS at Ginger Brown’s in Lake Worth!!! To Die For!!

  24. Sharyl Reply

    Looks like we are hitting the CFS trail! And what better place to start than at Wurstfest!!!

  25. Cynthia McDaniel-Soll Reply

    I don’t know who has the best… but once you figure it out, can you let me know? LOL

  26. Nancy Reply

    A consistent award winner for the best chicken fried steak in my area is the Blue Bonnet Cafe in Marble Falls.

  27. Jessica Reply

    CFS was foreign to me until I moved from Connecticut to Texas. I have yet to try an authentic one. I hope these comments can be my guide 😀

  28. Amy Blair Reply

    Truly the very best CFS is from Babe’s in Roanoke! It does NOT get any better!

  29. Carla Reply

    I just moved to Texas so I don’t know any place to buy CFS but I am looking for a good African American style BBQ spot.

  30. Paula Booth Reply

    Best chicken fried steak I’ve ever had is at McAllesters in east Tx

  31. Betty Guzman Reply

    I would have to say that De Wese’s Tip Top Cafe in San Antonio, Texas has the best CFS!

  32. Jean Smusz Reply

    Both my husband and I love chicken fried steak. We get a good serving at Busy Bee in Pearland, Tx

  33. Kevin Blackshear Reply

    Best is Texas is at Lulu’s Cafe in San Antonio. Try the Deputy’s plate, the Sherriff’s plate covers a 12 inch platter!

  34. Cindy Reply

    I agree that Gristmill has excellent chicken fried steak. Rockett Cafe in Rockett, Texas makes a good chicken fried steak. While I love chicken fried steak, I also want it with creamy buttered mashed potatoes with gravy.

  35. loretta Reply

    I love chicken fried steak; but my all time favorite it chicken fried chicken from Bud Jones in San Antonio. The Little Red Bard is pretty good too.

  36. Teri LIs Reply

    About a month ago I ordered the chicken fried steak at Texas roadhouse, and it was not good at all. They make it look like it’s huge, but it’s mostly breading, and the breading has a sweet strange taste. Not happy at all.

  37. Donna Meurin Reply

    Goerke’s Tavern in Marion, Texas has AWESOME chicken fried steak!

  38. diane jamison Reply

    Try the chicken fried steak at Ratibor Grill east of Temple, in the town of Ratibor,Texas 254-984-2255 and only a few miles from Westphalia. It is greatttttttttttttt. The grill is right beside an old gin and the owners are Edwin and Judy Pechal.

  39. Donna Reply

    You really need to try the Colet Inn Bar & Grill on Coleto Creek outside Victoria,TX – a bit rustic, but great CFS…

  40. Rosalie Ramirez Reply

    Hello!You have to go to Little Red Barn in San Antonio, TX. It’s not a chain restaurant & they are known for thei chicken fried steaks. I’m sure everyone would be jealous to know that I live in San Antonio. lol

  41. Sherri Reply

    If you ever get to Brenham, try Country Inn. They have
    a great chicken fried steak

  42. Cynthia Reply

    Believe or not, I don’t think I’ve had chicken fried steak. I’be been in Austin, TX a year, so it’s time that I try it and let go of the BBQ and Mexican food temporarily.

  43. Carrie Dierschke Reply

    The best chicken fried steak is: Klossels Steak House in Moulton, Tx!

  44. Leora Pimentel Reply

    Try J D’s Cove Harbor, Rockport,TX big enough to cover two place and tastes good too!

  45. Cindy Wright Reply

    By far the best Chicken Fried Steak I’ve ever had is in Golinda, Texas, at a small cafe/store. Most people call it the Golinda Store, but the actual name is 3B Country Store.

  46. Richard Reply

    You better be hungry when you go to Kelley’s in League City. That’s a Texas sized CFS. Good Luck!

  47. Lynn Walker Reply

    The Chicken Fried Steak at Wunsche (sp?) Brothers in Spring is great!

  48. Amanda Reply

    I’d have to say the The Gristmill in Gruene has the BEST Chicken Fried Steak I’ve EVER had!

  49. Tajaric McGee Reply

    Bless you people and this blog. lol. I love CFS, but haven’t had it in years. Now with this list from everyone, i’m hitting the road for a Texas tour of CFS!

  50. james ward Reply

    Go to the Elite Cafe in Waco, delicious chicken fried steak. Bonnie and clyde ate there.

  51. Nick Reply

    I love the chicken fried steak at Pioneer (any of them) up in Wichita Falls!!

  52. Eric Caudill Reply

    Goodsons in Tomball, also family owned place called Kelly’s Country Cooking scattered around Houston. Both places serve food that will make your tongue slap the back of your head.

  53. CINDY Reply

    Babe’s Chicken in Roanoake is great and also there sister restaurant Sweetie Pies in Decatur have the best CFS!!!!

  54. Rebecca Anderson Reply

    Grist Mill in Gruene has an awesome Chicken Fried Steak! Actually EVERYTHING they make is really tasty.

  55. Elisa Ferracane Reply

    Sounds like I have to go to Gruene to eat something, even if it’s not CFS!

  56. Kathryne Reply

    Grist Mill is hands down the best CFS around! I don’t understand what all the fuss about Threadgill’s "world famous chicken fried steak" is… it’s greasy and all batter…

  57. Marina Francis Reply

    I wish I lived closer to these areas. My husband’s grandmother makes an awesoem CFS!!

  58. John S. Reply

    CFS = Happy; Longhorn Cafe in DT Houston serves a pretty good steak if you ask me.

  59. Damaris Kazmierczak Reply

    I recommend three in the lower Rio Grande Valley
    1) Oasis in Premont, TX
    2) Kino’s in Weslaco, TX
    3) Pepper’s in Hebronville, TX

  60. Kay Johnson Reply

    Manor Texas go to the 290 cafe.. their chicken fried steak is as big as your face.. and the crust is so wonderful, with a tender steak inside.. the homemade sides truly rock!! enjoy and tell them Kay sent you.. 🙂

  61. Thien Reply

    For the money ($7.99), Alama Cafe in San Antonio (on San Pedro street) has a monstrous CFS.

  62. Nancy Reply

    My husband and I enjoyed the great food and German music at Wurstfest on Saturday and then went to the Gristmill to check out the CFS. Yep, all the food is good at the Gristmill. Already planning my return trip.

  63. Niki Weaver Reply

    Clear Springs Cafe has the BEST CHICKEN FRIED STEAK EVER! And they have different locations. There best is in New Braunfels! It is the oldest one been there for 25 years. They also have locations in Nacogdoches, San Antonio, Tyler, and Midland.

  64. Leslie Reply

    Now the worst? Wheelers in Fredericksburg and Babe’s Burgers in Helotes.

  65. DONNY Reply

    Burger Bar in Llano texas fills the plate awsome!!!! when you are there eat at Coopers BBQ as well no CFS but best BBQ in state.

  66. Taylor Reply

    THE BEST CFS IS IN HOUSTON AT HICKORY HOLLOW!!! the cuts are huge, the gravy is delicious, and the breading is phenomenal!!! i love it and swear by it!!

  67. Jarrett Reply

    Well you said no chains but, Cheddar’s in Waco has some really good CFS. Also Love and War in Texas, in Grapevine/Dallas, has the absolute best CFS. And a little place in Mexia(Can not remember the name) has some really good homecooked CFS.

  68. Jerry Davis Reply

    Either everyone in Texas uses the same recipe for CFS or you got a whole lot a liars and a few tellig the truth. In any case maybe we need to sell the rest of the world on CFS and cure starvation.

  69. Lisa Dayhoff Reply

    Sendero Restaurant in Liberty Hill, TX has the Award Winning Chicken Fried Steak recipe that was served at the Hobo Depot. We also have three different sizes… so there’s a size that’s right for just about anybody!

  70. Big Ed Reply

    Mary’s Cafe in Strawn (Hwy 16 about 3 or 4 miles north of I-20). Best hub cap I have ever had!!!! Everything is good there

  71. The Texas Travelin' Man Reply

    Big Ed. Thank you for the info on Mary’s Cafe. Not sure when I’ll be traveling thru Dallas/Ft Worth, but it’s now on my list to visit.

  72. Melissa Reply

    BABE’s for SURE is the best… amazing… I dont even like CFS all that much but here i drool for it

  73. Renee Reply

    The best chicken fried steak is at the Tip Top Restaurant in San Antonio, Texas. It has such a great crust and really good white gravy. Can’t stop once you start!

  74. Billy Bob Reply

    Tip Top in SA is pretty good, but the best one I ever had was at T Bone Toms in Kemah.

  75. James Reply

    El Charros (on Erwin St.) in Tyler, TX. by far has the best chicken fried steak in Texas! Gravy is slap yo mama good!

  76. Justin Reply

    Any of the Babe’s locations will be the best CFS you can get. They hit the nail on the head every time. Very consistant.

  77. Clay Reply

    Bill and Rosa’s in D’hanis is dang good and plenty. Best tasting is Monday night special at the Alamo Springs Cafe and Saloon near Luckenbach

  78. Dan The Man Reply

    Rockin J’s in Comanche, TX is a gas station/convenient store turned into a restaurant. Outstanding CFS. Would put it right at the top of any list.

  79. Brian Reply

    Any Babes location in DFW. Hands down the best CFS. Short of my momma’s, bless her soul…

  80. Virginia Mann Reply

    Skeets has a awesome CFS in Abilene,
    They have a place in Sweetwater and Merkel also

  81. matt Reply

    Barbque Inn in Houston, TX has the most tender CFS. The first time I tried it, I thought it must be a fluke, but it is still just as tender on my 45th visit as my first!!! Enjoy!!!

  82. Rick S Reply

    Don’t be fooled. It’s not a true chicken fried if a deep fryer is involved. The best I ever had are no longer available. The Bluebonnet in Temple and the Stallion in Austin.

  83. ken Reply

    Many CFS’S should be referred to as Chicken Fried Breadind ’cause that’s what covers your plate. Impressive at first sight but quickly goes downhill after first bite! Try Nancy’s in Bastrop and you’ll be happy to discover that there is real meat on your plate under a lighter batter. you can even taste the meat111meawrael

  84. Diane Reply

    Undoubtedly, the best CFS is at Mary’s Cafe in Strawn,Tx, off I-20 between Weatherford and Ranger! Go check it out if you love good CFS.

  85. Derek Reply

    Mary’s (in Strawn), and Good Time Charlie’s (in San Antonio) are the best I have found in Texas. The Gristmill is a close third.

  86. david Reply

    We go all the way across San ANtonio to Radicke’s Bluebonnet Cafe for CFS.

  87. T hopkins Reply

    The best there is…In one of the most beautiful counties in Texas…Palo Pinto County…Mary’s in Strawn..hands down to die for!

  88. robert burnside Reply

    BBQ Inn in Houston, by far the best in the world. Places like Lulu’s, Goodson’s Cafe, and most others have too much crust, too little meet, and are too tough. At BBQ in, it’s thick, you can cut it with a fork, and the crust in minimal. Add some cream gravy and chow down.

  89. Jim Smith Reply

    Hands down, The absolute best CFS is to be had in Strawn Texas at Mary’s café. Once you taste the larruping good CFS there, You will be driving there the remainder of your life.

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