ALBANY, Texas (KTAB) – The third in our series of Big Country day trips during these vacation months, we take a trip to Albany for this One Tank Trip.
The Fort Griffin Fandangle takes place in June, so what if you’ve already missed it? Albany has plenty to do the whole year round.
One of the most well known and loved Albany establishments is the Fort Griffin General Merchandise Restaurant and Beehive Saloon, the Beehive, for short. The newest incarnation of the restaurant was taken over by Ali Esfandiary and his brother nearly forty years ago.
Esfandiary reflects on the beginnings of the restaurant. He says, “We never did advertise. It all was word of mouth. And it got to the point now, you ask somebody you meet, you say, ‘Where are you from?’ ‘Albany.’ Everybody got to know: ‘Oh my God, shrimp night! Thursday night! The Beehive! The dollar on the wall!'”
With two restaurants to handle (the other is in downtown Abilene), the Beehive is ever changing.
Esfandiary says that he routinely visits Fort Worth to learn about what restaurants are doing in larger cities. He says that he needs to learn because, “Where I’m located, I have to have the best. Otherwise you would not drive 45 minutes to an hour to come eat with me.”
It seems to work well. Hamburgers and steaks share the menu with lentil soup and red snapper, making for a unique dining experience.
Since every meal needs a dessert, why not make it memorable? Vintage Vanilla is a soda fountain that’s been in existence for generations, and still as tasty as ever.
Michelle Alexander manages the soda fountain pharmacy, a place that she’s been visiting for her entire life. In fact, she says that her grandfather had sodas there.
Alexander says that the building has an extensive history. “In 1905 it was actually a dry goods store. And it’s been a pharmacy since 1926, still is. They’re back there, open, right now. The building is still 90% original, and like I said, it’s the original soda fountain.”
There’s plenty more than just food and dessert in Albany. Main street has an old fashioned feel with the old storefronts, but it’s full of life.
Those old storefronts are part of the old architecture that is so common in Albany. That’s all highlighted by the old courthouse, which is still fully operational today.
The arts have a home at the Aztec Theater, as well as the Old Jail Art Center.
And while the summer heat is still here, remember, there’s a nice, cold pool to enjoy.