I’ve sent you a copy of our cookbook that you’ll receive as soon as tomorrow or as late as next Tuesday. It covers our history and menu up through 1996 and the only significant changes are the addition of another location at about that same time and a couple hundred new specials that just keep popping up. I’ve begun working on an updated version of this cookbook to include many of them, especially the veritable plethora of salads we now offer.
The significant difference between our CFS and the others you can find in hundreds of places is the quality of our meat.
Though many have copied our original and even gone to extremes (like frying rib-eyes, even T-bones, etc.) we maintain a place at the head of the herd by simply doing what we’ve done all along. We have always used Certified Angus Beef , steak-cut using the upper two thirds of choice and 100% Angus with a minimum 28 day wet age and tenderized to break down connective tissue. We have been getting it from Franklin Hall’s Lone Star Foods since we opened in 1981 (1-1-’81).
Chicken Fried Steak has been around almost as long as Chili. We’ve always had lots of beef in Texas; for years there was more beef than chicken, certainly on long trail-drives. And speaking of chicken, there’s not much difference in the techniques between the processes and certainly that’s where the name is derived. The tenderizing is important to the steak however because it helped the breading adhere to the meat. (And thus, the seasoning gets a little deeper, too.)
The popularity of Threadgill’s is perhaps caused by a blend of factors. I’m sure that the reputation of the food was significantly enhanced by us being the first to use high quality meat in what was always considered a cheap, throw-away cut of damn-near scraps. We did the same with Meat Loaf. High quality meat from a trustworthy provider really set us apart. Second, our gravy always has knocked out of the park what had become in most places a cheapened product. We begin by roasting beef bones to extract marrow. NOBODY else goes to that much trouble (or has gravy that good). We begin a batch of gravy with roasted bones and 18 gallons of Whole Milk. CRISPY is another element of the CFS experience that is just hard to top for a Hallelujah moment in the mouth! Combined with Creamy, Crispy makes for a powerful one-two sensation on the palette.
I’m sending the cookbook along so you can see more clearly why it’s hard for Austin to not give old Threadgill’s a special place in its heart. And in addition to the food, there is the history; back before Threadgill’s had any food, it was honored to have BEER LICENSE # ONE issued upon repeal of Prohibition in Travis County, in 1933.
Oh, yeah, and then there was the fact that when she and I were both UT Freshmen in 1961, Janis Joplin began singing in public at Mr. Threadgill’s Wednesday night hootenanny tradition.
Now, at the risk of seeming like I’m trying to FOLKSY you into a coma; here’s the kicker: we have the largest selection of daily vegetables on the planet. Some are in casserole form, but several are steamed or sautéed. I can’t find the formula’s equation right now (I’m not a numbers person) but everyone in your office is smarter than me and I found it originally on Wikipedia; we have daily vegetable choices of approximately 33 items (between the menu and the specials board) and therefore the possible number of combination of our FIVE VEGETABLE PLATE pushes 3 to 4 HUNDRED THOUSAND.
Monica, I’m sorry I’ve gone on so long but it fits with my ‘light duty’ assignment for today.
You might find the Visa Card commercial that was shot at Threadgill’s on the web. They spent three days shooting in, around and under our staff and customers. BBDO was the agency. It was quite spectacular.
Come see me when you’re really hungry.