Shop, dine and drink in Cottonwood Shores
Cottonwood Shores and Horseshoe Bay are close neighbors on Lake LBJ and just a few miles down the road from Marble Falls. While only a handful of places to shop and dine can be found in these small communities, they are filled with high-quality products.
Century Oak Plaza, 4315 FM 2147, and the plaza’s nearby neighbors make up the core of the Cottonwood Shores shopping and dining experience.
I stopped at Kynda Coffee, which caps off the plaza, a surprisingly hip and roomy coffee shop that was thrumming with activity. I ordered a nitro cold brew, my drink of choice when I want caffeine gas-propelled into my bloodstream. It was good stuff, as expected. The beans used at Kynda are roasted at Numinous Coffee, a roaster and coffee shop in Marble Falls.
Kynda has the atmosphere of an urban coffee joint without the hustle and headaches of busy city life. An austere, industrial interior is softened by recycled wood, cozy furniture, and easy-going baristas.
While there, I talked to two friends who were catching up. They both had roots in the Highland Lakes and their moms connected them.
Cassandra Daniels is an on-campus missionary at Rice University in Houston and Maxine Cahill just moved to Horseshoe Bay from Queensland, Australia, to live with her grandmother.
Daniels was born and raised in the Highland Lakes and said it has changed a lot over the years. As a kid, there wasn’t much to do other than see a movie, go bowling, or hang out at the lake.
“Water and the outdoors are a huge part of living in this area,” Daniels said. “We’re actually going out to (Lake LBJ) today.”
The addition of Kynda is a welcome change for Daniels and Cahill — both cited the atmosphere and menu as improvements to the area. Kynda is relatively new to town, opening in 2019 and just now building momentum as pandemic conditions subside.
Daniels enjoyed a London fog, a tea-based beverage with steamed milk and sweetener, a drink that certainly wouldn’t have been available in the Highland Lakes just a few years ago.
“Coffee was the culture in Australia. We are total coffee snobs,” Cahill joked.
She noted that Kynda’s coffee measured up to her Australian tastes and that the deer she passed on the drive over weren’t so different from the kangaroos she saw in the countryside of Queensland.
Daniels mentioned that Julie’s Cocina was the spot to eat in the area, so I took her word for it and grabbed lunch. Julie’s is immediately next door to Century Oak Plaza, so it was not only well recommended but conveniently close by.
My go-to order at any Mexican restaurant is tacos al pastor. Al pastor refers to the preparation method used in this traditional dish, meaning it is spit-grilled and roasted vertically, the same way you would imagine lamb is cooked at a Mediterranean or Middle Eastern restaurant. The method was actually adopted in Mexico from Lebanese immigrants, and it became so popular that it has made its way into virtually every Mexican restaurant in the world.
Julie’s is a clean, well-lit space with a full bar and friendly staff. Before the main meal, I was served the best tortilla chips I’ve ever had. My tacos arrived quickly and I wasn’t disappointed. The pastor was just right.
While Julie’s menu is mostly approachable Mexican cuisine, you can also grab a good-ol' American breakfast of bacon and eggs or a burger and fries for lunch.
I slipped out of Julie’s and walked over to The Market Place, one of the only shopping options in Cottonwood Shores and Horseshoe Bay. This small boutique captures both the lake bum and resort life aesthetic that characterizes the south side of Lake LBJ, and that is no accident.
Owner Kim Collins started her clothing shop with a vision and managed to adapt to her clients' desires.
“I opened the store with a lake bum theme,” Collins said. “Then, everyone asked me for hometown apparel.”
The walls of The Market Place are covered in cute, custom clothing marked with “HSB'' for Horseshoe Bay and “LBJ” for the lake. Collins has a background in marketing and has managed to effectively build a solid customer base by listening to them.
“This is one of the best places to shop in Marble Falls and Horseshoe Bay,” said Lisa Parker, a Horseshoe Bay resident and regular customer. “I just brought my girlfriends in this past weekend.”
Collins ended up in the Highland Lakes after her life was turned upside down by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Within 48 hours of their home flooding, Collins and her family packed up and moved to Horseshoe Bay. By 2019, The Market Place was open.
Many of the restaurants and experiences in Horseshoe Bay are only available to members of Horseshoe Bay Resort or various clubs that dominate the city, and Cottonwood Shores is a small town that you could pass in the time it takes to read a text message. I also didn’t see a single cottonwood tree while I was in Cottonwood Shores. None of this should stop you from taking the time to explore these growing lakeside communities and sample what they have to offer.
4315 FM 2147, Cottonwood Shores
A hip coffee spot with an exceptional menu and cool atmosphere.
FOOD & DRINKS
4319 FM 2147, Cottonwood Shores
A quality Mexican restaurant recommended by locals that offers a full bar and American cuisine options.
4320 FM 2147, Cottonwood Shores
This family-owned restaurant could be the best spot for seafood in the Highland Lakes.
4401 Cottonwood Drive, Cottonwood Shores
This classy space offers a stellar menu from an award-winning chef and unrivaled views of sunsets over Lake LBJ.
200 Hi Circle North, Horseshoe Bay
This Horseshoe Bay Resort restaurant is open to the public, not just guests. Stop by to experience a taste of what the resort has to offer.
4119 FM 2147, Cottonwood Shores
This is your classic sports bar and grill with brews, burgers, pizza, wings, and the big games on TV.
3809 FM 2147, Cottonwood Shores
In their own words, “We’re the small trailer with the BIG flavor of the best in Texas barbecue.”
4315 FM 2147, Cottonwood Shores
A lake life boutique that pays homage to Lake LBJ and Horseshoe Bay with cute, quality apparel and home decor.
4217 FM 2147, Cottonwood Shores
This small jewelry and antiques shop has a unique selection and is highly rated by past costumers.
This is by no means a comprehensive list. Locals, let visitors know your favorite places to shop, dine, and drink in the comments section below.
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