You come around the corner on a gravel road and see this colorful tucan on a part of a sign and some metal fowl sitting along the roof line.
Where would you guess you are? Key West? Southern California? Then your eyes pan to the right to see the entire sign.
You see that Dave's Place has Beer, Ice, Food, and Live Bait listed and wonder if it could be someplace along the Gulf Coast? Maybe a potter's home in a coastal village of western Mexico where one could learn pottery-making.
Welcome to Dave's Place, a restaurant about 35 miles west of San Antonio. Nowhere near Key West and no Jimmy Buffet in sight. (A restaurant where nothing says, "Hey, let's eat here" like the couplet "Food and Live Bait.")
Owner David John, a master potter who played the role of "Tom" in the TV movie "Price of Innocence," held court from his chair by the hand-carved bar, telling stories and bantering with the regulars.
As Dave put it, "We had people from every state in the U.S. and people from 29 different countries here last year--this is Center Point Texas! If anyone finds us they had to hear about us from somebody else." The town's population is 2383.
As if on cue, Dave announced the entrance of a former member of the Bulgarian national gymnastics team, and within the hour, a traveler from New Zealand introduced herself to Dave.
We quickly realized that it was Shelley, Dave's wife, who made the place run. She was the bartender, cook, and server.
Must have been quite a marriage "contract."
The authentic fish and chips that Shelley prepared and served with the typical side dish, peas, was surprisingly tasty. "Made with fresh cod," was Dave's contribution.
Additional seating was available on the stairway leading to the Guadalupe River
and in the botanical garden.
In one corner of the garden, was a display of some of Dave's pottery. Roosters and chickens seemed to be popular subjects for many of his creations.
As was quickly apparent, the food seemed secondary to the "ambiance" of Dave's. We visited the aviary after lunch and met these two macaws from among the "over 300 different birds," some in large cages, others running around the yard,
and this one with a somewhat metallic coat perched above the entrance to one of the most interesting places for food and stories that we've visited thus far.
Just down the road from Nowhere.