Round Top, Texas & Paw Paw's Firehouse Cafe: Embracing Small Town Charm


The next time you find yourself on a road trip from Austin to Houston and in need of a charming stop, consider taking a short detour to Round Top, Texas. Located 75 miles east of Austin and 90 miles west of Houston, Round Top stands out as the ideal pitstop between these two cities, especially on weekends. Keep in mind that weekdays in small towns tend to be quieter, so it's advisable to check for open establishments before venturing between Houston and Austin. For example, one must stop in Round Top, Ellis Motel is open Wednesday - Sunday.


When you do end up in Round Top, Texas, stop by Paw Paw's Firehouse Café. Whether for a quick sit-down break with a cold beer after antique shopping or a day of driving, the café offers more than just a meal. There isn’t a stronger connector between people than storytelling and food. Even in just an hour spent at Paw Paw's Firehouse Café, Larry's stories and warm hospitality make him feel like a familiar friend.


Paw Paw's Firehouse Cafe, Carmine, Texas, just next to Round Top.


Paw Paw's Cafe welcomed us in and made us feel at home in a small quiet town which a lot of people can easily feel out of place in on a quiet Tuesday afternoon. It’s joints like Paw Paw's Firehouse Café that keeps locals fed and giving out-of-towners a glimpse into why supporting small towns is essential. Stopping by and supporting Larry's home cooking restaurant helps in keeping small towns across America going. Amidst population decline and supply-chain challenges, small town places like Paw Paw's persevere, attempting to maintain affordable prices and generous portion sizes despite the highest inflation rate in forty years.

 Paw Paw (Larry) in his restaurant, Paw Paw's Firehouse Cafe.

After retiring from truck driving in Houston, Larry pursued his dream of owning a restaurant in Round Top/Carmine, his second home due to his involvement in the antique business. He even opens up his extensive collection of antiques for the markets that frequent Round Top throughout the year. As I stepped out of Paw Paw's Firehouse Café, I not only reflected on the best-smoked turkey sandwich I ever had but also the inspiration of an entrepreneur who cares. Larry's approach to business is not just about transactions; it's personal. He operates with a generosity that extends beyond this café, honoring family and first responders.

Paw Paw's Firehouse Cafe, honoring fallen first responders.

The ethos of Summerfield Candle Co. aligns with what Paw Paw's is already doing – following one's heart and embracing authenticity. It ain't about chasing money, it's about chasing the important things in life. This inviting countryside eatery, steeped in the warmth of home-style cooking café, owned by Larry, stands as a testament to the enduring values that echo through the quaint streets of Round Top. This quaint café, much like the rest of the Texas hill country, offers a comforting escape to those that drive out from the concrete messes of Austin and Houston.


Round Top, Texas is all 1 square mile and a population of 90. Home to world-famous antique shows held each year in October, January, and March. Drawing nearly 200,000 people, the town's essence lies not only in tangible objects but in the intangible traditions. What they sell isn't merely objects; it's the intangible essence of tradition, and the authenticity that seeps through every piece. The heartbeat of Round Top resonates in the tales of individuals like Larry and his café, where authenticity isn't just a label but a way of life.


Larry's antique selling cathedral, located just next to the cafe.

Larry's antique cathedral, located just next to the cafe.


The decor inside Paw Paw's Firehouse Cafe.





An award honoring Paw Paw's Firehouse Cafe.



The decor inside Paw Paw's Firehouse Cafe.



The decor inside Paw Paw's Firehouse Cafe.



The inside decor, pool table and game machines of Paw Paw's Firehouse Cafe.



Look for the motorcycle, then you know Larry's at the cafe.



The outside of Paw Paw's Firehouse Cafe.



The cows of Round Top, Texas.

Passed by these three friends as we drove out of town.
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