2017 Restaurant & Catering Guide

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IN A CITY LIKE KILLEEN, THE CONSCIOUS CONSUMER ADAGE “BUY LOCAL, THINK GLOBAL,” IS EASY TO ADHERE TO — ALL A CITIZEN HAS TO DO IS GO OUT TO EAT. Part of the military influence on this city is that service members will bring back spouses or whole families from around the globe. Not only that, but they develop a taste for the flavors of wherever they were stationed, thus insuring a market and steady clientele for small ethnic eateries. Korean, German, Caribbean, and Vietnamese dishes, plus the far-flung melting pot cuisines of Hawaii and Puerto Rico, round out the usual Chinese, Italian, Mexican, and Thai offerings found in most cities the size of Killeen. One can find all the same types of food in Austin, but Houston is a more apt comparison—a truly international port city with a constant influx of immigration. Though lacking a coastline, Killeen does sit next to the largest military installation in the free world, and that sort of global reach brings back all sorts of tasty treats. Killeenites love to see positive press about the city, and visiting print, radio, and television journalists frequently rave about the food. Such was the case in a 2011 article by Jeremy Schwartz, military correspondent for the Austin American-Statesman. In town to



cover the trial of Nidal Hassan, Schwartz visited several restaurants in what he had been warned would be a “culinary wasteland.” The resulting article, a mixture of restaurant reviews with the personal experiences of the people in the kitchen, got to the heart of Killeen’s culture. Schwartz managed to capture the pride citizens feel for the city. “That was a really fun, and surprisingly emotional, story to do,” Schwartz said recently by email. “I still try to hit up C&H every time I go up there,” he said, referencing the praise his article heaped upon the poke at C&H Hawaiian Grill. Poke, a raw fish salad, is made by marinating chunks of tuna in sesame oil and spices. With Japanese influences, Poke is almost a deconstructed sushi, but more

flavorful; a Polynesian ceviche with soy sauce instead of lime. It’s also good for you. Considered by many foodies as the breakout dish of 2016, poke featured in Schwartz’s story way back in January of 2011 as “the kind of dish that would become a cult favorite in Austin and sell for $20 on South Congress Avenue.” C&H was also featured on the Texas travel show The Daytripper with Chet Garner. The Killeen episode paid homage to our men and women in uniform (including one hip-shaking Private Presley) and documented the lunchtime tradition at C&H, but then committed the blasphemy of traveling to Schoepf ’s BBQ for dinner. Et tu, Chet? With all the good food in Killeen, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would use Killeen’s screen time in Belton. Barbecue is a hot topic in Texas, and everyone has strong opinions about where to find the best. Our “national magazine,” Texas Monthly, has a full-time Barbecue Editor and an annual list of the 50 best BBQ restaurants in the state ... and therefore the world. (Shoepf ’s didn’t make the list this year, but Belton neighbor Miller’s did). No Killeen restaurant has cracked the Top 50