Bertram is a dynamo of a tiny Texas town, overflowing with excellent food, treasured shops, and special spirits.
After visiting Bertram to try out Decadent Saint, a distillery that produces fruity, extra-hard mixers, I was interested in returning to the quaint city in the beautiful Hill Country. My day started at one of my favorite types of eateries, Donut Plus on East Vaughn Street, or Texas 29 to those passing through. I love donuts and Czech kolaches, the latter being part of my family’s heritage. The Louisiana-style boudin-filled kolache I tried hit the spot. The sausage and cheese were wrapped in sweet kolache dough. As I was being served, cars lined up in the shop’s drive-through — it’s obviously a popular spot.
Shopping always calls when visiting a new town, and Bertram has plenty of places to peruse. If you’re “outfitting” a patio, kitchen, or garden, step into the cool of Mosaic Garden Treasures. The friendly owner and her grandchildren design and craft most of the wares in the store. She creates the glassworks and holds classes to instruct others in this art. Her granddaughters make dainty earrings and necklaces.
Antiques abound in Bertram at The Red Rooster with its beautiful selection of furniture, collectibles, jewelry, and interior accents. You’re sure to find a cherished piece for your home or business.
If you’re a Bargain Betty like me, check out the Bertram Library Thrift Store, located next to the library at 140 N. Gabriel St. It’s a huge warehouse of goods, including furniture, clothing for all ages, children’s items, housewares, books, and almost anything you’d find in a department store!
A treat is deserved after all that shopping, and BTX Coffee in the Bertram Library offers just that. Along with a full lineup of coffees and espressos, it sells the world-famous Texas Pecan Cakes.
A creative couple started the shop with Mom’s recipe in 2016. They entered and won first place in the H-E-B Quest for Texas recipe contest in 2017. Made with loads of Goldwaithe pecans, the cake is an incredible Texas treat.
In the afternoon, you have your choice of beverages. Flanigan’s Texas Distillery and Winery led the way with tastings of its products.
Smooth potato moonshine, corn whiskey, and grape grappa are delightful drinks. The Texas American Gothic was my favorite. Chardonnay, red and white blends, a red table wine, and an unusual Tannat fill the wine list.
Creative, homemade sandwiches, meat dishes, and breads are served from a menu that changes daily. Owners Dana and Kevin Flanigan plan to open a coffee shop on the grounds.
For entertainment, the historic Globe Theatre shows classic movies on Friday nights in the summertime and hosts live music, special events, and private parties year-round. Built in 1935, it seats nearly 250 people on two levels and features a stage and a dance floor.
The city of Bertram puts on special events several times a year. The last weekend in April brings the Art, Wine and Herb Festival, and the fall features the Oatmeal Festival. The event is a grand celebration that takes place in Bertram and the nearby tiny town of Oatmeal with a parade, oatmeal baking contests, live entertainment, and vendors.
Holiday gatherings include Halloween Downtown in October and Country Christmas the first Saturday in December. That’s a lot of activity for a small town of fewer than 2,000 people. Bertram really comes alive on the weekends with its shops, restaurants, and bars consistently open.
The delightful town of Bertram has friendly residents that welcomed me with a smile. They shared so many bits of history that intrigued me to return for more food, drink, shopping, festivals, and stories.
IF YOU GO
317 E. Vaughan St.
Donuts and coffee, tacos, smoothies, and sandwiches for breakfast or lunch.
El Rancho Mexican Restaurant
535 Texas 29 East
Jalisco-inspired Mexican food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
240 Texas 29 West
Authentic Italian pizza for dine-in, takeout, or delivery.
Hill Country Smokehouse
525 Texas 29 East
Meat, meat, and more meat along with tacos, burgers, salads, and sides.
102 Castleberry Ct.
Classic American food for breakfast and lunch; dinner on Monday nights only.
The Red Rooster
260 Texas 29 West
Antiques galore! Carefully cultivated and displayed.
Bertram Library Thrift Store
140 N. Gabriel St.
Wall-to-wall selection of everything AND the kitchen sink.
Mosaic Garden Treasures
143 E. Vaughan St.
Locally produced, creative works with a few vintage items.
3547 Texas 29 West
Tantalizing extra-hard mixers served in an enticing space.
Flanigan’s Texas Distillery and Winery
330 N. Lampasas St.
Sample wine and spirits in an early 1900s building and former movie set.
The Globe Theatre
132 W. Vaughan St.
Summer movies and live music in a renovated art deco-style theater.
7345 FM 243 West in Oatmeal
A gem of a place for a wedding, family reunion, or business event.
Bertram Flyer Depot
170 S. Gabriel St.
The 1912 depot is a stopping place for a 44-mile vintage train ride.
This is by no means a comprehensive list. So, locals, let visitors know your favorite places to shop, dine, and drink in the comments section below.