GROESBECK, Texas – from. Every day across the Lone Star State, beef is being wheeled and dealed. With 12 million cattle in Texas, it’s the top commodity in the state and in Limestone County, the Groesbeck Auction and Livestock Company is the place to buy and sell your grazers.
But if you work up an appetite watching burgers and steaks walking off the auction block, just head for the greener pasture of Billy B’s Sale Barn Café.
Billy Brown and Shane McLean are the grandfather and grandson duo in charge of making sure the ranchers and the regulars are sold on their food.
“We’ve only got enough space to serve about 60 people, and we serve about 12 hundred people a week in four days,” Billy said.
Only open Wednesday through Saturday, Billy B’s is always busy.
Limestone Country Sheriff Dennis Wilson, it’s safe to say, is a regular here.
“You know that’s what they’re always telling you, that the police hang out at the donut shop,” Sheriff Wilson said. “Well you can come out here and see a whole bunch of police cars, because they know where to eat. That’s what we do.”
Billy isn’t a rancher, he’s a former produce salesman who wanted to do something different. So, back in the mid 90s he bought the ol’ Sale Barn Café, a restaurant with roots that go all the way back to the 20s in Groesbeck.
“The barn was originally downtown,” Billy said. “ Had a big fire, and it burned. So the city wanted to move it out of downtown area, so they moved it out to here.”
O’Neal Foley is one of the old timers who has seen and done it all.
“I’ve done about everything haul hay, loaded watermelon, bailed hay, shredded, there ain’t much on a farm that I haven’t done.”
Lendell Grayson has been coming here his whole life.
“I used to come in here when I was a little kid,” Lendell said. “We’d come up town, and then we’d start eating here. He loved to eat, so he’d always make us get up early and eat.”
Of course, the one thing that might set some folks back is the initial smell of the auction house. Fortunately the bouquet of the cooked beef carries through the café.
“When I bring my friend form the city out, I do give him a warning before we go,” Sheriff Wilson said. “I tell them once we get in the café the aroma will change, and it will be a lot more pleasant than what you smell when we come out.”
It didn’t take long for a whiff of what was being made to find our noses, so we headed to the back for a big ol’ burger.
Head cook Robert Stahl is the real hero over the steel flattop. He got things started with two six ounce patties of 90/10 beef topped with pepper. The fresh beef sizzles on the grill and fortunately it’s not as fresh as you might think. Luckily for the cattle in the sale barn, the beef in these patties don’t go straight from the auction block to the butcher in the café.
After the patties have started cooking, eight slices of bacon get thrown on the flattop. Next, the bun gets gets buttered and toasted and topped with mustard and your typical toppings. The burger then gets flipped, flattened, and finalized.
After just one big ole bite, I knew it was good. You might even say it’s the Billy B’s knees.
The beef is obviously biggest flavor you get here. Imagine that. Then comes the bacon and all the garnishments and that bread, but the burger is all about the meat. It’s safe to say they definitely serve food that puts you in a good mooood.
Well the double bacon cheeseburger at Billy B’s in the sale barn in Groesbeck, Texas well worth a stop and a sale on The Texas Bucket List.
“It really is amazing,” Sheriff Wilson said. “This is not a local eating place, because the word has spread about the food here and the hospitality.”