From Texas Roots to Culinary Heights

Taste on Main and Hays City Store are Upping the Hill Country Dining Experience

Tamra and Travis Tindol have perfected the recipe for creating delicious dining destinations in unique spaces. The native Texans, owners of beloved Hays City Store & Ice House in Driftwood, launched their second eatery, Taste on Main in Buda, in February within a 100-year-old building that once served as the city’s post office. 

The new steak and seafood restaurant is a departure from Hays City Store’s rustic style and comfort food. “We wanted to fill that void of steakhouse and seafood, but not the stuffy old style,” says Travis, of Taste on Main, which features a raw bar including East Coast oysters, tuna tostadas and crab fingers. “We want people to celebrate anniversaries and birthdays here, but come as you are,” he says.

The vibe at Taste is comfortable, fresh and cowboy chic. Historic brick walls, leather seating and gingham-patterned flooring are complemented by a mix of vintage mirrors, landscapes by local artist Gena Destri, and a framed print of actor Sam Elliott, for whom one of their many craft cocktails is named. 

One of her favorite dishes at Taste is the blackened redfish with heirloom tomato vinaigrette, ginger scallion rice and candied lemon zest. Travis says they intentionally offer a lot of shareables, including crab guacamole and crispy Brussels sprouts, for patrons to try a bit of everything. The accompanying bar menu features craft cocktails, a well-balanced wine list, craft draft and bottled beers, plus a curated collection of bourbons.

Diners can enjoy brunch, lunch or dinner in any of Taste’s three dining/bar areas, including The Treehouse, an outdoor deck built around multiple, towering oaks. 

Only a 15-minute drive, but a world away from Taste on Main, is the duo’s first restaurant—the iconic Hays City Store & Ice House in Driftwood, where the couple has settled. Both from small Texas towns, the two met in fourth grade, dated in high school, broke up, and got married 25 years later!

In 2015, Tamra and Travis bought the gas station, convenience mart and cafe and chose to keep the name, as it had a healthy, local following. The couple, who’d been in the restaurant business for decades, were still working other jobs before opening Hays that year. “It was like that [Bon Jovi] song ‘Livin’ on a Prayer,’” Tamra jokes, of the long hours and challenges they faced. “I don’t think we had a day off for three years.” 

The two transformed the business into a full-service restaurant and bar featuring scratch-made, Texas comfort food, craft cocktails, and local beers, spirits and wine. Their hard work paid off, and they expanded by adding the Ice House in 2017, which includes more seating, 52 taps, nine TVs and a woodfire pizza oven producing almost a dozen combinations, all crafted with house-made dough and tomato sauce. 

An outdoor stage was added to the beer garden, where patrons can hear live music several times a week while enjoying a meal. Tamra’s favorites include the grilled salmon with Meyer lemon butter and truck stop enchiladas, two corn tortillas stuffed with spicy ground beef, topped with chili con carne, cheddar cheese, charro beans and a side of Tejas rice. 

“I also love our pizzas, and the Sonora burger,” she says. Topped with guacamole and chipotle aioli and served on a toasted bun, the Sonora burger is formed in house, using beef ground to their specific standards by their purveyor, like all their burgers.

And, while both restaurants offer distinctly different cuisine and ambiance, they’re products of the same passion and commitment to service by the Tindols and their staff, who they refer to as “our kids.” “We feel blessed,” Travis says. 

@tasteonmainbuda | @hayscitystore

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