It all started back in 1930 when Nick Bullington was working as an advance man for Ringling Brothers Circus. He discovered a killer bowl of Chile while staying at a San Antonio Hotel. It was the Chili spurred Nick to open his own eatery in downtown Roanoke, Virginia–dubbed the Texas Tavern in homage to the San Antonio hostelry where he fell in love with the Chili.

The chili dish is still on the menu and Nick’s grandson Matt Bullington continues his grandfather’s legacy. Not much has changed at all, including the exterior facade, and inside there’s the same 1o swivel stools for sitdown dining—Matt says, “we can feed a thousand people–ten at a time”.

The Chili remains a big draw along with the Cheesy Western burger. Join correspondent Tom Wilmer in downtown Roanoke for a visit with Matt at the legendary Texas Tavern.

The Texas Tavern show was originally broadcast back in 2011 and is reposted as a best-of-the-best travel feature in celebration of Journeys of Discovery’s 31st anniversary producing on-air travel shows for NPR affiliate KCBX and digital media podcasts featured on NPR One. 

Underwriting support provided by Nashville’s Big Back Yard economic initiative focused on rural communities in the southwest quarter of Tennessee and the Shoals Region of Northern Alabama.

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning podcast travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on the NPR Podcast DirectoryiHeartRadioApple Podcast, the NPR One App & Twitter: TomCWilmer. Instagram: Thomas.Wilmer. 

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