Review:  Gristmill River Restaurant – Gruene

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Introduction:  Road Trip through Texas and Oklahoma
Review:  Springhill Suites Oklahoma City/Del City
Review:  The Garage – Del City
Review:  Holiday Inn Express and Suites – Windcrest
Review:  Thai Chalurn – Windcrest
Review:  Mash’d – The Rim/San Antonio
Review:  Gristmill River Restaurant – Gruene
Review: Aloft Hotel – Fort Worth
Review: Ashim’s Hibachi Grill

I enjoyed my time at Mash’d with my friend but now it was time to drive to Gristmill River Restaurant in Gruene (pronounced Green), Texas just outside of New Braunfels.  If you have ever driven in San Antonio, you know that the traffic is brutal. The drive to Gruene, which was only 30 miles, took me close to an hour.

The Gristmill River Restaurant is situated on the banks of the Guadalupe River, just under the Gruene water tower.

Gristmill River restaurantGristmill River restaurant

The location and design of the restaurant could not have been better (I hope my pictures do it justice). The fact that on old cotton gin had been repurposed as a restaurant made me smile.

Gristmill River restaurant
Gristmill River Restaurant Entrance

By the time I arrived, my coworkers were already seated near the back of the restaurant. As I waited for someone to retrieve me from the hostess stand, I took a look around.  There was a bar to the left of the main entrance.  It was a bit recessed from the main part of the restaurant.  The bar could hold 30-40 guests, comfortably.  The one thing that I did not like about the bar was the bright lighting.

Gristmill River Restaurant
Gristmill River Restaurant Bar

After checking out the bar for a few minutes, my coworker retrieved me.  We walked through three seating areas before arriving in ours.  There was one more seating area just past us.  The tree was leaning in the first pic…initially, I thought it was me.


The menu was already on the table so I quickly ordered a drink.  I settled on the House Margarita, but was persuaded by the waitress to upgrade to the Patron Margarita.  The drink was delivered in less than 10 minutes.  It was a very strong drink.

Gristmill River Restaurant
Gristmill River Restaurant Patron Margarita
Gristmill River Restaurant
Gristmill River Restaurant Menu

During the wait for the drink, I had to a chance to look over the menu.  The Gristmill menu was quite extensive, but relatively inexpensive. I found the prices (approx $15-$20 for entrees) to be similar to a majority of the chain restaurants that I have visited.  My choice came down to either the pepper filet or Idaho trout. I ultimately chose the trout with cold potato salad and squash.  I also ordered a side of bacon wrapped shrimp with jalapeno stuffing.  The restaurant was packed so I went outside to have a look around.

The outside seating areas were amazing.  There was one in the back, just above the Guadalupe River.  I heard the high water rushing by.

Gristmill River Restaurant
Gristmill River Restaurant Outdoor Seating

The area in the front appeared to have many functions.  I felt like it could be used for weddings, concerts, or anything in between.

Gristmill River RestaurantDSC03068

I spent 10 minutes looking around then made my way back to the table.  The food was delivered a few minutes later.

The trout was served as two four ounce filets.  The fish had a touch if seasoning sprinkled on top, but was otherwise bland.  It was as if flavor was an afterthought.  The issue with the squash was not that it was bland, but that it had a bit of a sour smell.  On the initial bite, I thought that I smelled incorrectly so I tried it again…same.  The cold potato salad was decent.  The bacon wrapped shrimp were the highlight of this meal.  The bacon was crisp, while the shrimp was not overcooked.  I really enjoyed the flavor from the jalapeno as well. The waitress brought an extra basket of Gristmill fries which were surprisingly good as well.

Gristmill River Restaurant

Gristmill River Restaurant
Gristmill River Restaurant Cold Potato Salad
Gristmill River Restaurant
Gristmill River Restaurant Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Shrimp
Gristmill River Restaurant
Gristmill River Restaurant Gristmill Fries

Overall, I had high expectations for the food, but was disappointed.  The service throughout the dinner was exceptional.  The two friendly people taking care of use addressed any issue that arose.

Final Word

The location, and aesthetics of the Gristmill River Restaurant cannot be beat.  Being able to have dinner in old cotton gin on the Guadalupe River was something that I never imagined, but I am glad that we visited. The waitress, while new, did a great job throughout the night.  Her positive attitude was refreshing. I feel that the mark was missed when it came to the food.  I did not expect that the restaurant to have “ok” food, but it was just that.  The Gristmill River Restaurant is a treat for anyone that visits, next time I will try the steak.

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