Foodie Events / Restaurants

Self-Made Houston Restaurant Couple’s Texas Cookbook Becomes a Success Before It Even Publishes

Preorders Build Meaty Buzz, Prompt a Party

BY // 08.23.17

The “Taste of Texas” cookbook won’t be delivered from the printer until the end of October but already 2,200 orders have been placed for the tome that features 100 of the most requested recipes from the Taste of Texas Restaurant repertoire.

Just as the Katy Freeway restaurant is a 40-year success for founders Nina and Edd Hendee, so their commemorative cookbook, arriving just in time for holiday giving, is poised to be an equally delicious achievement. Working with cookbook veterans editor Roni Atnipp and photographer Debora Smail, the Hendee family has a beauty of book about to become a page turner.

Not only does the book feature customer and family favorite recipes, it also includes the Hendee story of growing their restaurant from very modest beginnings to a behemoth that serves as many as 1,000 customers a day, regularly has a line out the door, and is one of the largest independent restaurants in the country. In fact, once you start reading the story of this self-made couple as they have grown their business, you can’t put the book down.

Over a recent lunch (beef tenderloin salad) with the Hendees, they shared their key to success. “Consistency and focusing on excellence in every aspect from the front door to the back door,” Nina said. And as Edd likes to say, “We’re only as good as our last meal. You gotta be on your game at all times.”

In a further claim to fame, Taste of Texas serves more Certified Angus Beef than any other independent restaurant in the world. That notoriety alone explains the “Steak School” section in the middle of the book with instructions on how to grill the perfect steak.

Asked to name their favorite recipe from the book, daughter Kristin Hendee Blackford chose the Texas Quail Bites while Nina, explaining that that was a difficult question, settled on the key lime pie which she rates as the absolute best ever. Edd, on the other hand, was torn between the filet Oscar and the cornbread recipes.

In addition to the recipes and the family story, the book contains numerous references to Texas history, spotlighting the museum-quality relics that fill restaurant walls. Thus, “Taste of Texas” is a combination cookbook, history book and family album offering plenty bang for the buck at $49.95. Orders are being taken on the restaurant’s website.

The Hendees are planning a special 40th anniversary celebration on October 22 at the San Jacinto Monument and the website boasts “on the hallowed ground where Texas won her independence 181 years ago.” The evening of food, entertainment, carriage rides (a throwback to the carriage rides offered years ago at the restaurant), and camaraderie will benefit Memorial Hermann Life Flight. (Edd Hendee is a member of the Memorial Hermann board.) Individual tickets are priced from $250.

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