One of the highlights of our weekend trip to Taylor was meeting Vencil Mares on Sunday morning at the Taylor Cafe, which he has owned and operated since 1949. After two straight days of nothing but BBQ, we had skipped a planned stop there on Saturday night when the wives refused to go, forcing Gary and I to eat healthy salads instead.
I wasn't sure they were open on Sundays, but when we cruised by that morning and saw Vencil sitting at the bar through the screen window, it was game on.
I introduced myself and he explained this was the only place you'll get barbeque in Taylor on Sundays. Vencil cut a deal with the local preachers long ago, allowing him to open on Sundays. His part of the deal was not starting to selling beer until the last Sunday morning service had ended.
I sat with him at the bar and we talked the barbeque for 20 minutes or so. He insisted I go into his office to look around and take some photos. The tiny 6x6-foot office was a museum of his life, the walls covered with photos, paintings, deer trophies and war medals from his time as a medic and war hero in WW II.
If you go by the Taylor Cafe, it's very likely you'll find Vencil sitting at the bar. He's there to greet folks seven days a week for over 60 years, from morning til night.
I ordered a pound of brisket and a pound of beef sausage to go. He insisted that I try some of their turkey sausage, adding that to my take out bag.
Good thing it was Sunday morning. This was like going to the church of barbeque, a true religious experience. By the way, the sausage and brisket was every bit as good and Vencil said it would be.....
Taylor Cafe, 101 N Main St., Taylor, TX, 76574, (512) 352-847. Open Mon-Fri 10am-10pm, Sat-Sun 10am-11pm.
(Photos ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)