You don’t have to go far to find the best authentic Texas barbecue, steaks grilled to perfection or fresh Gulf seafood. Just head on over to Gus’ Restaurant, 3204 Palmer Hwy., in Texas City.
A foodie from way back, Gus’ owner Mike Tucker has more than 40 years experience in the restaurant industry. Tucker managed the restaurant for eight years before he and his wife Melissa bought it from Gus in 1980.
In Dec. 2009, tragedy struck Gus’ when a fire broke out and burned the original location to the ground. But, that didn’t stop the Tuckers. In February of the following year, Gus’ reopened to the delight its dedicated fan base.
“Our new location is doing quite well thanks to our loyal customers, who we greatly appreciate,” Tucker said.
The three month sabbatical deprived several regulars of their favorite dish — the chicken piccata. It’s no wonder — the dish is perfection on a plate, with tender chicken breasts panned to a golden brown and a creamy wine and mushroom sauce.
“I got 100 texts from people asking how they were going to get their chicken piccata fix,” Tucker said.
The menu at Gus’ turns newcomers into regulars with hearty plates of steak, seafood and barbecue.
USDA choice filet mignon, rib eye and New York strip are cut in the kitchen daily and, to top it off, customers may add steaming sautéed mushrooms, grilled onions or jumbo gulf shrimp to their steak.
But, surf doesn’t only come alongside turf — Gus’ also serves up succulent seafood dishes including customer favorites the Marnay and the Ponchatrain. The Marnay is grilled fish topped with delicate crabmeat and large shrimp in a rich mushroom cheese sauce. The Ponchatrain is grilled fish finished with and shrimp, sweet crabmeat and coated in a white wine cream sauce.
If you’re in the mood for an American classic, Gus’ has the best burgers in town, ground fresh from steak trimmings daily. Crisp jumbo fried shrimp, catfish and chicken strips are hand-battered using a coating made fresh with bread from a local bakery.
Though changes to the menu occur from time to time, Tucker will never replace the barbecue, which gave Gus’ its start. Beef, ham, pork ribs and sausage are smoked with precision in a pit out back. Complete your plate with a side of potato salad, made with the same recipe for 40 years, zesty coleslaw or beans. Meats may also be purchased by the pound to enjoy at home or for holiday gatherings.
At cocktail hour, bartenders fill orders for bottled beer and mixed drinks. Wine enthusiasts weigh their options from a new, more extensive list. Apple and watermelon martinis and the ever popular cosmopolitan are on special during happy hour, Monday through Saturday from 4:30 until 6 p.m.
Besides the food and drinks, what’s truly special about Gus’ is the jovial atmosphere created by the folks working there. Together they’re a seasoned group — head chef Richard Tubbs has been with Tucker for 17 years; fry cook and sauté chef Billy Curry for 11 years; Bridget Sauer, the best bartender around, for 11 years; and ordering and expediting extraordinaire Michelle Skipper for 22 years. Even Tucker’s brother Danny joined in after retiring from BP and has since been invaluable. Employees at Gus’ ensure Tucker is proud of the services rendered.
“Gus’ means great service, great food and a friendly atmosphere. If you like all that, this is your place to come to,” Tucker said.
Gus’ Restaurant is located at 3402 Palmer Highway in Texas City. The restaurant is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. For reservations or more information, call 409-948-8004.