Small business spirit is the foundation of the American economy. Vital to stability and growth, small business transactions historically found success in trade of crops and services. As our nation grew, demand and productivity did so, as well.
It’s pretty fascinating that small businesses make up more than 99% of US businesses. Brian and I try to frequent independent businesses over larger corporations, especially when we travel. We appreciate visiting a locally-owned space exclusive to the neighborhood. It gives us a sense of local connection and community.
Texas Small Business Shout-Outs
Brian and I want to highlight a few of the companies we ventured to on our road trip. They each offered different things and created different memories. Each experience added to the overall heart of our Texas adventure!
Mimsy’s Craft Barbecue
Mimsy’s Craft Barbecue
1979 S. 5th Street, Crockett, TX 75835
Hours: Tues-Wed 11AM-3PM, Thurs-Sat 11AM-8PM
Our drive home brought us to the unassuming East Texas town of Crockett. We avoided major interstates and instead opted for a more scenic route through back roads and quiet farmlands. Our growling stomachs prompted a quick Google search, directing us to Mimsy’s Craft Barbecue.
Family-owned and operated, this barbecue joint is anchored by a husband-and-wife team with solid industry experience. Executive chef Kathy Elkins and Pitmaster Wade Elkins are the duo behind the craft barbecue delights at Mimsy’s. Named after family, Mimsy’s opened November 2020 and quickly became a local favorite. Small town appeal along with incredible smoked meats and elevated sides from classically-trained Chef Elkins create an undeniable marriage of flavor and warmth. In fact, with just one year of business under their belt, Mimsy’s was featured in Texas Monthly’s Top 50 Texas BBQ Joints in 2021.
Even though we stopped for a little lunch break, we decided to splurge since the food looked so good!
- Brisket & House Sausage
- House-Made Pickles
- Pork Belly Lettuce Wraps
- Poblano Cheddar Grits
- Smoked Maple Brussels Sprouts
- Banana Pudding Cheesecake
Total Cost: $53.30
It was an expensive lunch, but ended up becoming dinner, as well! Honestly, it was the best barbecue we’ve had to date!
Wanderlust Wine Co.
Wanderlust Wine Co.
610 N. Interstate Hwy 35, Austin, TX 78701
702 Shady Lane, Austin, TX 78702
Hours: Mon-Thurs 3PM-10PM, Fri-Sun 12PM-10PM
In 2013, Brian and I swept through Austin in a 3-day whirlwind. Of course, so much has changed in this weird, little city since then (especially with the pandemic). Despite the changes, we agreed to skip Austin this trip since we had other places to see! However, I discovered Wanderlust Wine Co. as I researched for our road trip and believed it was worth visiting.
Owner Sammy Lam
Wanderlust Wine Co. is the brainchild of Sammy Lam, a lover of wine, family, and community connection. As a first-generation college student of an immigrant family, he embraced his opportunity to learn and excel in and beyond the classroom. Unfortunately, Sammy’s mother passed away shortly before he attended college. As he set out to explore his future, he decided to apply to Semester at Sea, a multi-country study abroad program, in memory of his mother. This experience turns out to be a pivotal journey that leads him to where he is now: an accomplished sommelier and owner of Texas’ largest self-pour wine on tap winery.
Learn more about Sammy’s background (via Eli Samuel’s YouTube Channel):
Wanderlust Wine Co. currently has 2 locations with each featuring between 60-80 self-serve wine taps. Wine taps are packaged in stainless steel kegs that hold 26 bottles of wine. Sustainable and eco-friendly, this self-pour experience offers efficient access AND guaranteed freshness!
I appreciate Sammy’s story and commitment to his business. Despite not being much of a wine person, I wanted to support his venture. Brian and I took a drive to the East Austin location, where we enjoyed a couple of wines and took in the space.
- 3 Sparkling Red Wines
- 1 Sparkling White Wine
Total Cost: $27.73
Colorful murals and graffiti art integrated perfectly with thrift store vintage decor. Cozy and comfortable, this vibrant, unpretentious space features stages for all kinds of live performances and events. It is truly a place for gathering. Nicely done, Sammy. Brian and I appreciated the afternoon in Austin and wish you much success.
Jester King Brewery
Jester King Brewery
13187 Fitzhugh Road, Austin, TX 78736
Hours: Wed-Fri 2PM-9PM, Sat 11AM-10PM, Sun 11AM-9PM
Founded by two brothers, Jester King Brewery sits on 165 acres in the Texas Hill Country. Jeffrey Stuffings and Michael Steffing strongly illustrate Mark Twain’s sentiment:
With a focus on beer, Jester King has expanded into a farm, kitchen, and event hall. This family-owned company is dedicated to land conservation and sustainability. Beers are crafted from well water, local grains, homegrown hops, and local produce. A farm-to-table menu features local ingredients that change from season to season. A vast landscape of possibility and creative soul, this brewery continues to evolve and grow.
The Changing Landscape
Pre-pandemic, much of the 165-acres were closed to the public. As the world began to slowly re-open, Jester King pivoted their business model and created an oasis of outdoor adventure. In 2020, they diligently worked their land to create a 2-mile nature trail open to the public. The trail passes by the on-site Nigerian Dwarf Goat Pen. Jester King Brewery became a park comprised of six outdoor green spaces with picnic tables and a playground! They even have lodging on five different properties if you’re looking to stay the night.
While Brian and I had no plans for an overnighter, we stopped in to check the area out!
- Pectoralis Pizza: Bechamel, smoked sliced brisket, Swiss cheese, dressed arugula, pickled red onion
- Classico Pizza: Red sauce, basil, fresh Lioni mozzarella
- Black Metal Imperial Stout
- Colour 5 Wild Ale
- 2021 SPON Chenin Blanc (re-fermented with Central Coast grapes)
Total Cost: $68.12
I wish I could say that the quality was worth the money. Unfortunately, Brian and I felt that the price was too high for what we consumed. The pizzas were personal pan-sized and did not have the level of flavor we expected. The beers were decent enough, but could have been a couple of dollars less. Truth be told, I suppose we weren’t surprised with the cost due to rising inflation! Nevertheless, the venue and experience Jester King provided fit the bill (even if the food was not up to par).
We tried to muster up the energy to walk around the property…and subsequently failed. The influx of children really took away our interest.
Roadmap Brewing Co.
Roadmap Brewing Co.
723 N. Alamo Street, San Antonio, TX 78215
Hours: Mon-Fri 4PM-10PM, Sat-Sun 12PM-10PM
Though I introduced Roadmap Brewing in our San Antonio post, I believe that they should be recognized in this small business feature. A name created from the confusion and chaos in opening a brewery, Roadmap Brewing Co. was conceived from wishing there was a strategic plan – a roadmap, so to speak. Dustin and Hannah Baker, the husband and wife team behind Roadmap Brewing, received a homebrew kit as a wedding gift. This is the moment that changed their lives.
Along with Dustin’s parents, the four of them took a chance and opened Roadmap Brewing in 2018. They’ve worked through the pandemic, closures, and winter storms. A force within the community, Roadmap Brewing has partnered with charities that focus on mental health initiatives and fighting food insecurity. The brewery also donated more than 1,400 gallons of clean water to local communities during February 2021’s deep freeze.
Roadmap Brewing is an independent and family-owned establishment with a sincere community focus. From laid back afternoons to dynamic outreach and contribution, this brewery provides a place to gather and connect. It is a family-friendly joint with plenty of board games and yard games to entertain all ages.
Honestly, Brian and I probably would have stayed to play a game if we weren’t running out of daylight! Our quick brew refresher was good enough for us:
- Professor Plum’s Alibi Fruited Kettle Sour
- These Boots Were Made For Mashin’ Hazy IPA
Total Cost: $12.64
Why travel if you’re not interested in exploring your surroundings? Take in the neighborhood. Venture out to the local digs. Appreciate the sights, sounds, and flavors. Support local ownership. It takes so much ingenuity and determination for continued success. A business must evolve as the community and demand change around them.
Brian and I are happy to have experienced a little bit of Texas through the businesses above. We made memories that are exclusive to these cities and communities. To us, our money and time were well spent supporting local artisans.