Years ago, as I kid, I showed Black Angus cattle at a variety of livestock shows across Texas. Every summer brought us to the Van Zandt County Fair in Canton, TX and one of the definite highlights was getting burgers and ice cream at the Dairy Palace. So it was with the high expectations of nostalgia that I return there for lunch.
The place has been in business since 1984 and has a reputation of serving real food with real ingredients. And it's not just the livestock show crowd that fills the booths. Every First Monday this is the place to be. And of course, the Canton regulars and I-20 travelers keep the place hopping in between.
The menu is surprisingly extensive for a burger joint. Sandwiches, salads, tacos and breakfast items are all in the mix as well as a daily special but, for me, the main event are the hamburgers.
But even then, there's a lot going on. They grind their own beef in house but there's several more options. They've got a big selection of wild game burgers including wild boar, elk, venison and duck. On my latest trip I went with the Bison Burger:
Too bad it doesn't photograph anywhere near as good as it tastes because this thing was phenomenal. The huge patty (it dwarfed the bun...not that I minded) was perfectly seasoned and clearly fresh off the grill.
One of their mantras is that they begin preparing your food after your order and "The little bit of wait will be worth it!" But I thought the order was turned around fairly quickly...and I was there with a six year old! And after the burgers, she was ready for dessert.
The "Dairy" in Dairy Place means ice cream. And in Texas, "ice cream" means Blue Bell. You can get an assortment of frozen treats like banana splits, sundaes and shakes but sometimes you just want a scoop or two on top of a cone. They also offer Plano based Henry's Homemade Ice Cream and Chef's Line Ice Cream if you want to try something different.
As you can probably guess, we left satisfied. So if you're traveling along I-20 with an empty belly, make your way to Canton for some old fashioned refreshment. And if the timing is right, pick up some antique "junk" at First Monday or stop by the Livestock Show to support youngsters like this little punk from the 80's: