It was cattlemen from Amarillo who sued Oprah Winfrey for libeling the beef industry; and if you have any doubt that this is serious cow country, come have breakfast at the Stockyards Café. Located in the big sale barn at the heart of the vast Amarillo stockyards, where several thousand head of beef cattle are auctioned every week, this is one sure-as-shootin’ cowpunchers’ haven.
Starting at six am, truckers and meat men come to talk business over honest hash-house breakfasts: steak and eggs, breakfast burritos, salsa-garnished huevos rancheros, and stacks of flapjacks. Some mornings, as you walk from your car to the café building, you will be surrounded by mooing cattle and the clear panhandle Texas air will be perfumed by their farmy scent. Once inside the restaurant, though, all you smell is coffee brewing, bacon sizzling, and steaks on the grill.
Dinner is served Friday and Saturday nights, and although our steaks here have ranged from tasty-tender to ornery-tough, it’s always a pleasure to sit in a booth surrounded by old-fashioned westerners (gentlemen will feel underdressed without a Stetson or at least a well-weathered farm cap), if for no other reason than to browse the tabletop advertisements for important local products and vendors: cattle wormers, feed mixers, and custom killers.