6500 Bee Cave Rd
Austin, TX 78746
There’s a great deal to be said about a restaurant that has been in business for over 35 years. Plus one that, despite having opened nine additional locations, manages to maintain the quality and feel of a small independent operator. And certainly this meat-thusiast had no idea she was eating at a chain restaurant.
The original County Line location, affectionately known as “County Line on the Hill”, is perched up in the stunning hill country that surrounds Austin. I’m a little bit in love with Texas at dusk. Something magical happens in the afternoon around 6pm and a golden light gleams down bathing everything in a captivating hue. It’s a time of day that makes me happy. The outdoor patio at County Line offers a particularly great vantage point to view the bewitching Texas sunset. It’s worth coming for this stunning vista alone.
But wait, there’s more good news! They also do a great Bloody Mary! They use Zing Zang (aka the world’s best bloody mary mix), so it’s not exactly reinventing the wheel, but it’s delicious so why mess with an easy option? Salted rim, generous olive garnish and fresh black pepper. NOM! It was a little strange to have it served in a milkshake glass, but then it’s about the contents, not the receptacle.
Their menu touted their “famous” homemade bread, which I tried but wasn’t a huge fan of. Though, that’s the fault of my Aussie palate. I’m sorry America, but I have never been able to understand your penchant for sweet bread. And I’m not talking about pastry or brioche. I mean a loaf that ordinarily would be neutral or salty, but has too much sugar or honey added to it. I’d rather a thick slice of sourdough or even boring old sliced white bread over the sweet loaves y’all seem so fond of.
I ended up ordering the two meat plate with brisket and beef ribs. I’ll tell ya again that beef ribs are my favourite BBQ item, though they’re not a commonly offered item. So when I do see them on the menu, I do a little happy dance (which may or may not involve jazz hands). For my sides, I chose potato salad and mac’n'cheese. This little platter of goodness was a steal at $13.49.
I wasn’t particularly enamoured with the brisket, nor the potato salad, but the focus of my plate were those Flintstonian ribs. Superbly charred, bursting with flavour. A bite of smokey rib paired against a mouthful of silky Velveeta mac’n'cheese is heaven.
In addition to standard barbecue offerings, County Line also offers a full grill selection and (if you don’t want to make any friends) a huge variety of salads. I am for sure going back, at Sunset, to try out their old-fashioned half pound burger.
For me, the County Line delivered a complete package. While it’s not the greatest BBQ I’ve had, the food was thoroughly enjoyable and the service was exceptional. The restaurant has an authentic “old school” feel, dark wooded interior adorned with memorabilia of bygone days, and I think I’ve already sold you on the view. Essentially, what I enjoyed most at County Line was the collective experience. Very Austin, very Texas.
And if you can’t make there in person… they also ship!