Georgetown TX says it has “the most beautiful town square in Texas,” and I’m not going to argue. It is anchored by the Williamson County courthouse, well-preserved historic buildings that are filled with interesting shops and galleries, plus lots of big trees.
County courthouses for each of the 254 counties in Texas are a big deal from an architectural perspective. Many are truly spectacular buildings – my favorite is probably the elaborate 1894 one in Lockhart, for Caldwell County. The courthouses are also important downtown anchors for the smaller communities that serve as county seats.
About 30 miles north of Austin, Georgetown is not small – population is around 70,000 – but its charming town square makes it feel homey and accessible. I’m always saying that I should spend more time there; it’s only a few minutes from my house.
Brunch is a good excuse for an outing, and it’s even better when there’s a lovely independent bookstore near the eatery, for some post-brunch browsing.
Located one block north of the square, the Monument Café has been around since the mid-1990’s, but it is meant to feel like a diner from the 1920’s – 1940’s. It’s a breakfast and lunch place, and there’s usually a line, but it goes quickly.
For my most recent visit, I changed my usual order from either migas or pancakes to the Monument’s Irish Oatmeal Cup: steel-cut oats plus a choice of two of the following: strawberries, blueberries, raisins, banana, candied pecans, or regular pecans.
With several cups of strong coffee, it hit the spot.
We timed our brunch to finish up right about when the Lark & Owl Booksellers next door opens at 10 a.m.
A woman-founded business, it certainly has a well-curated selection of books, but what impressed me was how they mix in retail items plus a little bar/bistro tucked into one side of the store.
I kept finding interesting doo-dads tucked in among the books – imaginative notecards, puzzles, craft cocktail fixings, candles, embroidery kits, a mug for drinking “Misogynist Tears,” kitchen towels and oven mitts with fun sayings (several were covered with a sign that said, “Just a Little Sweary” so the kids wandering the aisles don’t inadvertently read too far past their grade level.)
A nice seating area near the bar/bistro had a sign that I simply had to make my husband sit next to…
Do you have a favorite local place for brunch, and/or a local independent bookstore you love? Give them a shout down in the comments.
(All photos by the author)
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