Southern cuisine can be found tucked away in Gruene at the River House

The 8oz filet mignon with cabernet demi, garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus which is currently the seasonal vegetable (market price). (Eric Weilbacher/Community Impact Newspaper)
The 8oz filet mignon with cabernet demi, garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus which is currently the seasonal vegetable (market price). (Eric Weilbacher/Community Impact Newspaper)

The 8oz filet mignon with cabernet demi, garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus which is currently the seasonal vegetable (market price). (Eric Weilbacher/Community Impact Newspaper)

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The blackened shrimp and grits ($18.95) comes with ham, poblano cheese grits, onions and a red pepper puree. (Eric Weilbacher/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Ross Wilkinson and his daughter Lila Grace stand in front of The River House in Gruene. (Eric Weilbacher/Community Impact Newspaper)
When Ross Wilkinson decided to get out of his career in the marketing world in Houston and back into the kitchen, he and his wife, Cristina, started looking for places they enjoyed while dating.

It so happened that an unassuming house that had been converted into The River House Tearoom—tucked in a quiet corner of Gruene—was up for sale. In August 2015, they purchased the restaurant from Carol Irwin, owner of the Buttermilk Cafe in New Braunfels, and began the work of opening it up as a different concept.

“We wanted to keep the cuisine very approachable. And Southern cuisine seemed like the easiest transition. The idea was to take the menu as a Southern scratch kitchen, kind of take those old familiar things that we all have grown up with and come to love as people in the South, but put a chef’s twist on them and make more of a restaurant-type dish,” Wilkinson said.

After a year and a half of pandemic-related struggles, things are getting back to normal, Wilkinson said. One common theme that was put on hiatus has made a return—Sunday fried chicken dinners. It is a three-course meal and the only thing served on Sundays from 5-8 p.m. The Wilkinsons hope to bring back live evening music in the near future to go along with it.

“We made some adjustments, and we’ll bring supper and a song back. It seemed to do a good job. And I think it’s just now starting to catch on,” Wilkinson said.


Sunday dinners feature an all-you-can-eat three-course fried chicken dinner ($24.95). Kids age 12 and under eat for free.

“The theory or the concept is when was the last time you sat down with a bunch of friends or family and had people serve you fried chicken like this, you know?”

Other menu items such as the filet mignon with cabernet demi-glace, mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables (market price) are also popular, Wilkinson said. For brunch the Wilkinsons kept a staple from the former business, the Tea Room Quiche ($14.95) and also offer stuffed French toast, eggs Benedict and other classics. Entrees can be split upon request.

The River House

1617 New Braunfels St., New Braunfels

830-608-0690

www.theriverhousetx.com

Hours: Wed.-Fri. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sat. 3-9 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-3 p.m., 5-8 p.m.; closed Mon.-Tue.
By Eric Weilbacher

Editor, New Braunfels and San Marcos/Buda/Kyle

Eric joinedCommunity Impact Newspaper as an editor in July 2021, returning to journalism after several years in the New Braunfels business community. Prior to CI, Eric freelanced for multiple publications and was a reporter for the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. He brings a passion for accurate, compelling story telling and human interest to his work.