Enjoy Texas Food, The Texas Way

LEONA GENERAL STORE, North Leona Blvd 136, TX-75
CATFISH THURSDAY 5:30-8:30pm • CHICKEN, STEAK & RIB EYE FRI & SAT 5:30pm – 9pm
$15.99 AND UP • KIDS MEALS $10.00

A small town in a country setting, a family business, and a dinner experience much like being at a neighbor’s home. And we haven’t even mentioned the perfectly seasoned, grilled steaks by the ounce. 

Simply put, if you’re a fan of hidden gems—and beef or chicken—the two-hour drive to the Leona General Store should be your very next road trip. Get there early; the dinner fans begin lining up along the fence in the side yard at least an hour before opening and enjoy getting to know each other via shared anticipation. Our friendly and fascinating line buddy happened to be a graduate of Southwestern University who now works with nuclear weapons. 

Rest assured you will not wait long once the doors open. There are several airy dining areas brimming with Texas ambiance, and the service…? Imagine the graciousness of a Chick-fil-A, casual like a tailgate, and the food of a blue-chip steakhouse. 

There’s no menu—just tell your server how much steak or chicken you want and how you like it. Plates start at 10 ounces and go up in 2-ounce increments—the 72-ouncer barely fits on the plate and you can bring your own beverages of choice. You should also bring friends and family but don’t plan to spend too much time chatting. 

The beauty of having no menu is the meat cutter and grill masters are already fast at work adding a proprietary rub (also for sale in the store) and cooking over multiple charcoal grills. Our party of eight was eating and sharing, literally, minutes after we placed our order, including a heaping serving of sides. 


Built in 1921, the General Store sold staple items and cold drinks until 1997, when Jerry and Cynthia House (left) stopped by to get a couple of cokes. Not quite on impulse, they brought the ‘for sale’ sign to the counter as well. As it happened, the House family had been in Leona since the 1870s and it was Jerry’s dream to own a restaurant. 

As the new proprietors, the Houses thought it might be a nice barbecue stand hobby to keep Jerry busy while Cynthia did some knitting. They soon decided the best course was to do one thing—steak—and do it well. 

And they have both been doing it really, really well for 25 years. 

Kelly demonstrating just one of the reasons dinner was fast and good. 

Today, on any given weekend, the staff of 22—including the Houses’ adult children, their spouses, several relatives, and even an occasional church friend and elected official—serve up 800 to 1,000 steaks and chicken breasts to a customer base five times larger than the town’s population. All of the employees have full time jobs during the week but return every weekend—true compatriots of the House family and devotees of the efficiency, profitability, and Texas hospitality of the business. When not at the store, the butcher is a custom home builder, daughter Emily House is the marketing director for Texas Parks and Wildlife, and Kelly the server has her own house cleaning business. 


If you don’t want to take our word for it, there are nearly 1,500 reviews of the Leona General Store just on their first page of web results and none are below 4.5 stars. When you’ve eaten your fill of steak and shared a cobbler or pudding, stop by the general store next door, which still sells cold drinks but also has ice cream, coffees and teas, and all manner of charming roadside trappings. Be sure to add your name to the guest book—already filled with visitors from five continents—then relax and enjoy your snacks on the porch. Perhaps even let the folks waiting for the second seating know they are in for some of the best steak and chicken in Texas.