Following a high scoring game of bowling this afternoon, Ben and I needed something for lunch before we passed out. Amarillo is not known for local restaurants that are open on Sundays and Mondays. I was not thrilled about the idea of getting something at McDonalds or Taco Bell, so we tried to eat at a local burger place on 6th street (historic Route 66), but as expected, they were closed. So we kept driving and saw a place I hadn’t seen on 6th before boasting fresh made gelato and tasty sandwiches. We decided to take our chances and try it out.
The restaurant is called Cowboy Gelato and has been open since the 1st of August. The owner was there, her daughter took our order and I think her son was making the gelato. The owner was such a sweet woman. She came and talked to us a few times, complimenting me on my lunch decision, the Leone, which I will describe shortly. Everyone there checked on us more than once to make sure we were enjoying our food, and offering to refill our drinks. I love Texas hospitality.
The name of this place seems like quite an odd combination. Cowboy food and Italian gelato are not a match made in culinary heaven, but it works people…it really works. The inspiration for the place is film “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”. Most menu items are named for Spaghetti Western movies, directors and actors. The walls are hung with Spaghetti Western movie posters.
The sandwiches are called The Eastwood, Van Cleef, Wallach, Bronson, Leone, and Hill. Salads choices include The Ferzetti, and Volonte. Kids meals are the Django, Red Sun, Sabata and Campaneros.
Are you lost? I was. I knew Eastwood meant Clint Eastwood and that Van Cleef referred to Lee Van Cleef who starred alongside Eastwood in “For a Few Dollars More”. I also knew that Sergio Leone was a direcor. I did not know that he directed “For a Few Dollars More” and “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”. Other than that I was pretty clueless about who the other food items on the menu were named for. I found the answer to all my questions here! I never thought a restaurant would lead me to a wiki article devoted to the Spaghetti Western.
Ok, to the food!
Ben ordered “The Hill”
A Texas steak and cheese sandwich with “Ranch Roasters” which are simply baked and seasoned french fries. I thought it was pretty tasty. The meat had good flavor, and it wasn’t overwhelmingly cheesy. The “fries” were definitely healthier than fried french fries. They don’t have the crunch of a deep fried slice of potato, but they were good.
I had “The Leone”. Ben wishes that he’d ordered it too.
Two Sky View specials with cabbage, pimento cheese, red onion and chili between 2 toasted corn tortillas. Weird? Yes ma’am, weird would be a perfect description. Delicous? Oh yeah. What is a Skyview special? The owner of Cowboy Gelato, upon hearing what I’d ordered came and told me how much I was going to enjoy it and asked if we wanted to hear the history of it. She’s been making them for her family for years, but had one originally at the Skyview Drive In in Lamesa, Texas south of Lubbock. I haven’t been able to confirm anything about the origin of this amazing stack of food. All I know is that it was good. Ben and I agreed that it tasted a lot like a Frito pie, only better. Corn tortillas baked until crispy replace the Fritos, pimento cheese replaces grated cheddar, chunks of red onion replaces chopped white onion, the chili is the same, and the addition of cabbage creates a nice fresh crunch. It’s eaten like a sandwich, so be prepared to use quite a few napkins and get some greasy chili juice on your face and hands.
After lunch I had to have some gelato. Lucky for me, a fresh tray of Tiramisu gelato had just been placed in the cooler. They had about 6 flavors of sorbet and about 10 flavors of milk based gelato. I tried a bit of the Chocolate Green Chile which was described to me as “It is what it is!” meaning that you can taste both the chocolate and the green chile, yet somehow it works. I also tried the Chocolate Hazelnut. The Green Chile was a little grainy, I assume because of the chiles. So I had “The Good” which is a 4 ounce cup with your choice of 2 gelato flavors. I had the Chocolate Hazelnut and Tiramisu. The Tiramisu was so fresh, rich, wonderful and creamy. The Chocolate Hazelnut was also delicious with tiny, tasty, crunchy pieces of hazelnut. If you want more gelato or to try more flavors in one cup you can order “The Bad” with 7 ounces and up to three flavors, or “The Ugly” with 9 ounces and up to four flavors of cold, creamy goodness.
It was hot today and from the moment I was handed my gelato it started to drip on my hand, so I had to eat pretty quickly. I managed to snap one pic with my phone, but it magically disappeared so I am using this gelato pic just to give an idea of what I saw as I scarfed down my creamy dessert.
If you find yourself driving through Amarillo, you should try this place. If you live in Amarillo, go here and help support local business!