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Above, Martindale River Café's Chicken Banh mi sandwich — all-natural ground roasted chicken, fresh cilantro and basil, carrots, pickled onions along with a hoisin sauce chipotle mayo served on a French loaf.  Daily Record photo by Lance Winter

Foodie Friday: Martindale River Café

Thursday, November 11, 2021

If you asked me the first thing that popped into my head when someone mentioned the community of Martindale, I would have said ‘speed trap.’ That’s how I remembered it years ago traveling to class at Southwest Texas State University.

Today it’s much different. I suspect in short time it will be another suburb of San Marcos that will be busting at the seams before long — especially with Chem-Energy solar and battery power plant making a billion-dollar investment nearby. But for now, it’s a haven for small town bistros — including my favorite, Martindale River Café.

Main street Martindale is lined with beautiful, historic, well-groomed homes that lead visitors to a stretch of businesses being revitalized downtown. The River Café is one such building that was constructed in an alley between two existing businesses.

Walking into the café you’re caught off guard immediately. It’s a place that has a trendy hipster vibe you’d expect to find in any major metropolitan city — not the tiny town of Martindale.

Once there you’re greeted by a super friendly wait staff. As you’re perusing the menu, light jazz is playing overhead. It’s then you look around and notice how awesome the ambiance is with a retro chic look. The bare rafter ceiling and antique brick walls only adds to its charm making it where you don’t want to leave.

Their menu is simple — sandwiches, salads, shareables and sides. They also have breakfast and pastries such as two versions of avocado toast, either savory or sweet; Don’s Omelet; Lox avocado toast; Jalapeno bacon cheddar frittata slice or the garlic and goat cheese quiche.

On the day of our visit I tried something I’ve never had before, the Chicken Banh mi sandwich. It is all-natural ground roasted chicken, fresh cilantro and basil, carrots, pickled onions along with a hoisin sauce chipotle mayo served on a French loaf.

The flavors were unique and wonderful. A big fan of hoisin sauce, it was no surprise how much I enjoyed it, but the pickled onions along with the chipotle mayo were the stars of the show. It all came together and served on the pillowy soft French roll. It was awesome.  ($10.5)

My compadre opted for the Brisket Burger. It was the famous Kreuz sliced brisket served with cheddar cheese, onion, tomato, greens, BBQ sauce and mayo on a sweet bun. ($12.5)

I plan on visiting soon and trying their Fancy Grilled Cheese. It comes with imported Swiss cheese, aged cheddar, tomato, avocado, goirmaise served on a sourdough bun.

If you’re not too hungry and feel like sharing something, their charcuterie board may be the answer, or maybe a simple salad will suffice.

Make a trip to Martindale — you won’t be sorry. It’s a beautiful little town with great food.


Martindale River Café is located at 415 Main St. in Martindale.

The café is open Tuesday - Saturday between 9 a.m.-10 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666