The reviews are in: Lucille + Mabel Kitchen and Libations is Brownwood’s latest triumph! Not only is the new restaurant deliciously on par with 5-star restaurants you might find in Houston or Dallas, but the business continues the rapid revitalization of Brownwood’s historic downtown!
The inspiration behind Brownwood’s hottest new restaurant lies within a grandmother’s love of cooking. Lucille and Mabel were the beloved grandmothers of owners Christian and Tammy Nance. Both women poured their hearts into delicious home-cooked food, which is the passion the owners wish to share with their customers. Portraits of Lucille and Mabel hang in the dining room to remind guests their food is prepared with a love that has been passed down for many generations.
When Christian and Tammy Nance met Wayne and Crystal Meadow, they realized everyone shared a similar passion for food and entrepreneurship. The couples set their sights on a location with quite a rich history. 114 Center Avenue was originally built as Brownwood’s very first bank. They actually discovered a handful of original handwritten ledgers recording some of the bank’s earliest transactions. Even though the renovation process was long and at times difficult, the owners were excited to restore the original integrity of the building and hope future business owners in Brownwood will do the same.
After much anticipation, Lucille + Mabel opened on June 2, 2022, and so far there’s been nothing but glowing reviews! Specializing in elevated comfort food, the burgers and steaks on the menu are anything but ordinary. L+M chefs take burgers to the next level with homemade buns, in-house patty blends, gourmet toppings, and new specials each week. Where else can you bite into a burger topped with a Vietnamese pork egg roll? And people are raving about the 45-day dry-aged steaks that are beautifully displayed next to the bar and cooked to perfection. Additionally, homemade desserts are prepared from a bakery in the back of the restaurant.
It’s impossible to spend an evening at Lucille + Mabel without admiring the extensive, lavish bar. “The liquor selection is second to none,” claims Mr. Nance, as evidenced by a drink menu of literally hundreds of whiskeys, bourbons, tequilas, fine wines, and more. In fact, the collection is so expansive, that a vintage ladder is required to reach the shelves displaying bottles all the way to the ceiling.
Experienced bartenders can fulfill almost any drink request ranging from classic old-fashioneds and sazeracs to fun cocktails with fruit and candy. Something truly unique to L+M are the in-house concoctions made by dripping whiskey, gin, and vodka through different flavorings for about 24 hours, a technique they call drip systems. Lucille + Mabel’s bar is an experience in itself and is a terrific addition to Brownwood’s nightlife entertainment.
The environment may remind you of a 20's style speakeasy. Two towering vaults, leftover from Brownwood’s first bank, stand at the back of the restaurant. Future plans are to fill one vault with the bar’s 175 whiskeys and bourbons and the other with their 50 tequilas. Also adding to the old-fashioned ambiance are the waitstaff uniforms, complete with suspenders and bowties. Whether the speakeasy atmosphere was intentional or not, one thing is for sure - the restaurant’s number one priority is to provide an exceptional customer experience. The food will always be of the utmost quality and the servers will always treat guests as royalty.
“The restaurant is so well done, it feels nostalgic but current. They were very accommodating of my vegetarian diet. Let’s just say that both my husband’s plate and mine were wiped clean! Trent, our server, was amazing and answered questions before we even asked them. It’s all about the details and this restaurant knocked them out of the park. Highly recommended for a true fine dining experience.”
Robin, Location Unknown
“The city has bent over backward trying to help us,” Christian stated when asked if BMDD was involved in the project. “They’ve been overwhelmingly supportive and BMDD’s attention to detail has been phenomenal.” Brownwood Municipal Development District awarded a $20,000 grant to Lucille + Mabel in honor of Brownwood’s revitalization, a substantial contribution the owners were very grateful to receive. Wayne was impressed that construction was never delayed because of the city. “Whenever we needed an inspection, they were right on it.”
Having grown up in Brownwood but moved away for five years, the Nance’s were shocked to return to a “complete transformation” of the city’s downtown. They are grateful that BMDD is encouraging more and more entrepreneurs to start businesses and attribute that development directly to the growth in the community. “Brownwood used to be dead on the weekends but now it's alive with tons of people walking around downtown!” There is no rivalry amongst Brownwood’s businesses, but rather a fellowship encouraging even more growth. Christian deeply encourages others to pursue a business here in Brownwood and to ask the city for help in getting started.
The future of Lucille + Mabel is bright with customers already driving in from all over Texas. Upcoming plans are to open the restaurant for lunch a couple of days a week, and they’ve already started social hours on Wednesdays with fun bar bites. Even more interior restoration is to come, including more dry-aged units to keep their delicious steaks from selling out too quickly.
Lucille + Mabel serves delicious, elevated food prepared from scratch just like their grandmothers used to make. The owners are excited to be an “integral part” of something special happening in Brownwood.