During a recent visit to Boerne, TX, the home of my parents who relocated from New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina as well as the home of my sister and her family, I was introduced to a Texas classic family restaurant, Po Po Restaurant. Every time my husband and I visit, my family says we should to Po Po's, as they call it. Often on the phone with one of my Texas-residing family members, I hear, "we just got back from another great dinner at Po Po's". Then they will say, "you've been there, right?" Again and again I had to remind them that they had not ever taken us to Po Po's, so finally on this trip we had our special evening at this historic place.
In 1929, this structure was originally built as a dance hall, called the Nelson Dance Hall after the owner Edwin Nelson, a rancher and dairyman. During those days this establishment provided cheap burgers, moonshine during the Prohibition and a place for folks to dance and be entertained even during the Great Depression. During such hard economic times, people hardly had enough money for gasoline to get anywhere let alone to cut loose at the Nelson Dance Hall. Eventually Nelson sold the property in 1932 to Ned Houston, a rancher and exporter to locations such as Mexico, Cuba and Dominican Republic. Houston decided to make Nelson Dance Hall into a restaurant. Wanting a memorable and simple name, he named his restaurant Po Po after the Mexican volcano called Popocatepetl. Houston's name choice has certainly withstood the test of time.
In 1934, Houston sold Po Po's and the restaurant had various owners until 1950 when Luther and Marie Burgon bought the place. This is when Po Po's truly became a family establishment where prominent families would come to dine. The Burgon's, a well-traveled family, decorated their restaurant with plates collected from every new place they visited. Po Po Restaurant currently has over 2,000 plates displayed on its walls. Current owners, Sam Bounias and Mark Admire, plan to continue the traditions of Po Po Restaurant in the Texas Hill Country.
Located in Boerne, Texas, approximately 30 miles from the San Antonio area, Po Po Restaurant stands proud serving customers authentic Southern cuisine from chicken fried steak to a dynamite seafood platter. Po Po's is not a place for dieting, cares or worries; this is a place to sit back and enjoy the laid back atmosphere while enjoying comfort food with family and friends. That is just what my husband and I did during our Po Po's visit with my parents and sister.
On a hot, bone-dry summer evening followed by a day spent at the pool, we relaxed with cocktails while reading over this traditional Southern menu. Being from New Orleans, we were all very comfortable and delighted with all of our meal options. While getting into the basket of Captain's Wafers crackers, a staple at Southern spots and seafood restaurants alike, I spotted okra on the menu immediately and ordered Fried Okra for the table. My mom ordered her favorite-Chicken Livers or Gizzards w' Gravy. With these two items on the table along with a few house salads to make us feel better about the fried food, we indulged and enjoyed good conversation. Getting slightly stuffed already, we prepared ourselves for what was to come. On its way to our table was a Seafood Platter-Jumbo Shrimp, Boiled Shrimp, Fried Oysters and a Catfish Fillet, a Chopped Steak with Grilled Mushrooms, French Fries and Gravy, Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy and, finally, a plate of Homemade Biscuits.
We had our work cut out for us but truly had a memorable meal. Po Po's frying techniques come from 1950's owner, "Ma" Burgon's original, award-winning recipes. Menu options at this spot are endless starting with Po Po's Famous Fried Chicken menu with a side note that says, "1987 winner, San Antonio Restaurant Assocation's Taste's of the Town-Best America Taste. Ma Burgon's Original Recipe! Fried the way Ma Burgon taught us". Po Po's continues to please with items like hamburgers, ribs, turkey, and a full steak and seafood menu. Dessert at Po Po's does not disappoint with Homemade Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce, Popocatepetl Special Dessert-homemade chocolate brownie with pecans topped with Blue Bell Ice Cream, Chocolate Topping, Whipped Cream and a Cherry, and Home Baked Cobbler-Blackberry or Peach.
Spend a day in the Texas Hill Country and end it with a satisfying, comforting meal at Po Po's. Do not miss Po Po's welcome sign out front, which reads:
"WE ARE NOT FAST! We try hard to be good, cheerful and courteous, but, we are not fast! For fast go to New York. Here we are South of the 'Tension Line' --- So relax. Take time to smell the flowers and give us the time to prepare your order with tender loving care."
Po Po Restaurant
829 FM 289
Boerne, TX 78006