Eric M Martic, Flickr

East Texas is blessed to have some of the best family owned restaurants. Most of these family-run restaurants have been around as long as I have. These days it's refreshing to eat at a place that is lovingly built from families that care about serving the customer.


pjchmiel, Flickr

Pizza King

The Best Pizza In East Texas

1100 East Marshall Avenue, Longview, TX 75601-5601 (903) 753-0912
Ahhhh, Pizza King. Merely the mention of Pizza King makes my mouth water. I literally grew up on Pizza King. When my parents moved from Tyler to Longview to start their nursery and landscaping business, they met Hal Inman, owner of Pizza King. Hal and his family were new to Longview as well, and his family and ours, quickly became friends. Hal needed some landscaping and we needed to eat. So we worked out a trade! Pizza King serves the most delicious and unique pizza you will ever taste. Not only is the food delicious, but you get so much for your money. My favorite has to be their sausage (which is finely grated) with onion. The King's Delight is a close second. Oh order a salad with the house dressing, you won't be sorry. My family orders the house dressing for our parties as a delicious dip. Enjoy spaghetti or a submarine sandwich too. The original building is gone, but a new one was built in its place. Other then a new building, everything has stayed the same, and that's the way I like it. Like they say “If it ain't broke, don't fix it!” So many memories have been shared at Pizza King. Make some memories for yourself – eat at Pizza King soon.


M. Pink, TSM

1501 E Marshall Ave Longview, Texas 903-753-7691
Johnny Cace's Seafood & Steak House has served generations of loyal customers and fans. For over 60 years Cace's (as the locals) call it, has offered excellent food at fair prices along with warm, Southern hospitality. Cace's is a very special place that my family would celebrate events like; anniversaries, family reunions, birthdays and such. Traditional New Orleans-style Creole cuisine made from their own family recipes is Johnny Cace’s specialty. So whether you are looking for an intimate romantic dinner, an enjoyable lunch or dinner with family and friends, or a catered special occasion, Johnny Cace's is the place! My favorite – Fired shrimp in shorts. Cace's also has an extensive “Oyster Bar” where they shuck the oysters right in front of you. If you're a big oyster fan, you'll love their motto – “The oysters you eat here today slept in their shells last night!”

Bruno's Pizza And Pasta

Family owned pizza joint since 1976

1400 S. Vine St. Tyler, TX 75701 903-705-1320
Brunos is another fabulous family owned business. Operating since 1976, Brunos serves huge pizzas with tons of toppings. They also have pasta and delicious salads. The lasagna is famous for being the best this side of Italy! All the recipes have been handed down from Owner, Jay Rumbelow's sweet Grandmother. The food is lovingly made daily from scratch, including the marina sauce! My Favorite – Meatball Sandwich with cheese. But I only tackle the half sandwich!


facebook/El Charro

2623 E 5th Street, Tyler, TX 75701 (903) 596-7222
El Charro was established in 1948 by the Gilbert family.The original Gilbert's El Charro is still located in the original location on Erwin Street in Tyler. A second location is at Loop 323 and 5th street. Gilberts' El Charro serves mexican food that's so original and of course “quite tasty!” But what sets El Charros apart from the rest – the chili on the enchiladas — YUMMY! and please give me the recipe. The “old fashioned” tacos are made “old school style” and an order of Tony's Tacos are loaded with fresh cilantro, cabbage and sure to please. TIP – Frozen Margaritas can't be beat. (but one will do the trick) When my parents were dating, Gilbert's El Charro was always apart of their plans. They ordered the rice and chili for 75 cents. Married for 53 years, they still go out on dates to Gilbert's El Charro.



Big Pines Lodge

Restaurant & Waterin Hole

747 Pine Island Road Karnack, Texas 75661 (903) 679-3655
Big Pines Lodge has been around since the 30's and it's seen a lot changes too! The Marshall News Messenger reports: “An East Texas icon is making a legendary comeback with construction set to begin this fall on the new and improved Big Pines Lodge. “Before the rumors started, we wanted to get the word out that we are starting back and have not sold to anyone else,” said co-owner Kevin Allen of Marshall. “It's not going to be condos or town homes there. We are still going to build the restaurant and with the look we wanted.” Big Pines Lodge was a favorite of families for more than 60 years before it was claimed June 6, 2009, by a tragic fire. While plans to rebuild the restaurant began right away, flood regulations along the hauntingly beautiful Caddo Lake have made the process time and energy intensive.” Big Pines Lodge serves the best fried catfish around and has for over 60 years. So take the trip to Karnack, Texas and treat yourself to some catfish and enjoy the view of the Caddo river with their trees laden with Spanish moss.