DOWNTOWN TEXAS - Downtown usually means in the middle of everything but in Downtown Texas, it’s the middle of nowhere.
“Everybody asks what it means, just because we are in Downtown Texas,” says Lanny Whorley.
The working hay and pecan farm has been in his family for four generations and is approximately one hour from Austin, Waco and College Station. Whorley’s father came up with the idea to call the area Downtown Texas and it stuck.
“Nobody really knew how to get a town started so our county judge made up a proclamation or we did and he signed it and we had 100 signatures and from this day forward it’s called Downtown Texas, Texas and there it is,” said Whorley.
Downtown Texas has a rich native american history. The Apache Pass rests on the land and remains the only natural crossing on the San Gabriel River. Whorley’s father came up with a interesting way to turn the property into a thriving business venture.
“He said let’s build a stage and start having concerts and I said sure! Let’s get after it ya know!” said Whorley.
Just like that, the Apache Pass in Downtown Texas became a hotspot for outdoor concerts, festivals and events. In 2011, Apache Pass broke a record when 38,000 people attended the Nocturnal Wonderland festival including celebrity Paris Hilton.
“It went from cattle pasture to concerts,” said Whorley.
If that wasn’t big enough, the Whorleys built an RV Park, an airport, the Apache Pass Icehouse and most recently the Apache Pass Steakhouse.
“We hand pick our meat and we age it in house and cooking on that open flame on mesquite, oak and pecan. You can have your choice of what flavor wood you want,” said Whorley.
The restaurant officially opened for business one year ago and right now it only serves customers Friday and Saturday nights. Just two nights a week is more than enough to keep the restaurant packed every weekend. In just one year, reservations have become almost necessary.
“Your experience is beautiful every time you come here,” said Dawn Morton, manager of the Apache Pass Steakhouse. “I think they come to a nice environment, relaxing, peaceful and then they leave with a full belly.”
Even more impressive is the Whorley family has built their family business from the ground up with their own hands.
“Everything from pouring the concrete to the plumbing to building the tables, just built it up as we could and just kind of grew organically,” said Whorley.
While he won’t reveal any new additions coming to Downtown Texas, Whorley says they are not finished yet and soon enough Downtown Texas just might become the Downtown of Texas.