Stock Yards Cafe

Union Stock Yards closed on April 18, 2001. As the lights went out on the last auction, most people thought the same would happen to the Cafe, a steak-and-eggs type of place that had been around as long as the 112-year-old yards. Of course, owner Mike McElreath had no plans to close the home-cooking, lunch- and breakfast-serving joint. Although located a few hundred feet from the cattle chutes, the Cafe drew most of its clientele from the courthouse neighborhood farther up South Laredo. But add the fact that nearby Kelly Air Force base closed and business took an immediate drop, and the lunch rush isn't so rushed anymore. What still remains are the meats, all cut on site, a homemade buttermilk pie, and potatoes mashed each morning. Filled with the black-and-white photos of auctions, ranch families, and the yards themselves, the diner — like an unofficial museum — is keeping at least a small part of the area's 100-plus-year history alive. - John Brewer
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