Pecan House Grill, San Saba’s new fine-dining restaurant, was named the 2021 Best Downtown Business for a city under 50,000 population by Texas Downtown Association. The restaurant is owned by entrepreneur Clay Nettleship, with Chef Mike Felts, who both grew up in San Saba.
Chef Felts says, “I have known Clay Nettleship and his family for most of my life. Our parents also taught together for many years in San Saba. I moved back here when my mother became ill, to help my dad take care of her. Clay and I started discussing a restaurant at that time. It has been a lot of hard work and long hours designing, building, procuring, implementing, and trying to get (and keep) staff.”
That hard work and dedication has certainly paid off, since everyone who visits Pecan House Grill raves about the food, ambience, and service. Their extensive menu appeals to everyone, from seafood lovers to steak and wild game fans. They serve 4 Farms Angus beef for their special 32 ounce Tomahawk Ribeye, and of course, chicken fried steak. Other items on the menu include Texas Antelope Medallions and Gulf Red Snapper. Their veggies, soups and salads are also fresh and seasoned with TLC.
“We have a Texas/Southern bistro style cuisine at The Pecan House Grill, with a little Cajun/Creole thrown in for good measure. We try to bring something for the folks of San Saba County and be a destination for our out-of-town visitors,” Chef Felts said.
Classically Trained Chef Mike Felts
Chef Felts was classically trained at the Culinary Institute of Louisiana, and has over 30 years’ experience in restaurants, hotels, resorts, and country clubs.
He says, “‘I have had the opportunity to work with chefs from many nationalities and enjoy learning about their cultures and cuisines.’
After hearing so much about Pecan House Grill from my daughter-in-law Susan (who grew up in San Saba), I was excited to join them for a lovely lunch recently. The restaurant had been open less than a year, but the spacious dining room was bustling and busy, serving a mix of locals and out-of-towners like us.
The lunch menu was surprisingly expansive and varied, making it difficult to decide what to order. Our party of four solved that problem by ordering several different dishes to share. We started with the Seafood Fondue, one of Chef Felts’ signature dishes. Priced at $11 on the lunch menu, this tasty fondue was more than enough for all of us. My son said he once ordered the dish for his entrée, it’s so good. This “melt-in-your-mouth and wake up your taste buds” mixture of spinach, artichokes, mushrooms, and pecans with shrimp and lump crabmeat is served with grilled sourdough bread.
Texas Brisket Queso and Brisket stuffed jalapenos (both $9 on the lunch menu) are also popular appetizers at Pecan House Grill. I ordered the Artichoke Chicken ($13 at lunchtime) for my entrée. It was delicious—and way more than I could finish, featuring sautéed chicken breast with artichoke and mushroom sauce served over angel hair pasta.
Although we were too full for dessert, Chef Felts talked us into sharing a dish of his old-fashioned bread pudding. Served warm, this yummy concoction—chockfull of pecans and topped with fresh whipped cream–wasn’t on the menu, but it should be.
The restaurant is located on the ground floor of a beautifully restored historic building that features stone walls and wooden floors. Upstairs, the Papershell Bar offers Texas beers on tap, an extensive wine list (including wines from local Wedding Cake Winery), and craft cocktails. Live music and events, televisions for sports fans, plus a full service bar and menu are featured.
Pecan Capital of Texas
The bar’s name is taken from the Papershell pecan developed in San Saba. The Pecan House Grill also pays homage to the town’s designation as the Pecan Capital of Texas, and we noticed that many items on their menu feature pecans.
Nettleship also owns The Pantry, a grocery and gift store adjacent to the restaurant and bar. The entrepreneur also opened the lovingly restored Dofflemyer Hotel downtown in 2015, which has become a tourist draw. If you’ve never visited San Saba before, there are a number of reasons to journey to the Central Texas town of about 3,500 very friendly people. There’s plenty of photo-worthy scenery in San Saba, such as Mill Pond Park, Risien Park, and the San Saba River Nature Park.
Pecan House Grill: A Destination Restaurant
One of the top reasons (for this writer anyway) is the great food and warm hospitality you’ll enjoy at Pecan House Grill. For my next visit, I’d like to spend a weekend at the historic Dofflemyer Hotel, with Sunday brunch at Pecan House Grill. I’m already dreaming about that delicious seafood fondue.
The Pecan House Grill is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wed.; and dinner 5-9 p.m. The bar closes at 10 p.m. Thurs.-Sat. Lunch: 11 a.m.-5pm Dinner: 5pm-9pm (bar closes at 10pm). Thurs.-Sat. Lunch: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Dinner: 5-10 p.m. (bar closes at 11 p.m.). Sun Brunch: 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Mon.-Tues. closed. For reservations, call 325-0372-5300.
The Pecan House Grill, Papershell Bar, and The Pantry are located at 408 and 410 E. Wallace Street in downtown San Saba.