Two hours north east of Kingwood is this town Woodville. So peaceful is the thirty-some-mile long hilly road from Livingston to it, a thin ribbon through the verdency. Every year mom and dad find it rewarding to make the drive to eat chicken and dumpling at a local restaurant there, when the wind turns cold and the sky is covered in mesmerizing gray. But this year the pilgrimage took a different turn. We missed the chicken dumpling by half an hour, and starvation is not easily appeased with only a tranquil landscape. We drove further to downtown Woodville, found Jack in the Box and Z’s Fillin Station. It was God’s will? We pulled into Z’s Fillin Station.
Long menu. The hostess waited patiently for our order, but exhaustion showed on her face. She was also the cook. The host, big and friendly like any countryman of Texas, eagerly checked on us and was happy when we cleaned our plates. A few men in cowboy boots swaggered in, nodded hi to us. This part of Texas is rural and secluded, but it’s nice precisely because of that. People here are home-folk like the land they’ve settled on. The food, too, is bawdy.
Philly cheese steak, crawfish poboy, and grilled catfish all came in good portions. A hearty meal with good grease and good salt, with black pepper and bell pepper, with half-boiled broccoli fighting an uphill battle against cheese and butter. But at the end, although the food was absolutely life-saving on that day and quite delectable in its earthy nature, it wasn’t the memory-trigger for me about this “filling station”. What did it were the painted wooden bird houses, the doorbell connected to an iron weight by a rope and a pulley, the collection of car plates from all over the States – some dated back to the time Texas needed only three letters to identify a vehicle. It’s the pure romance in the rust. This place preserves a part of time for those who will not change no matter how the world transforms.
Address: Z’s Fillin Station
307 N Magnolia
Woodville, TX 75979
Price: Lunch for 3 – 36.64
And here it is, I finally got a chance to blog about the chicken and dumpling joint that we missed.