Texas is the only state in the union with its very own toast. Everyone loves a slice of delicious Texas toast—it’s practically a Lone Star State addiction, and it can be eaten with any meal throughout the day or as a stand-alone snack. Texas toast is made from thick white bread buttered on both sides and then grilled, rather than toasted, to a light-golden brown perfection. The extra thickness helps Texas toast have greater moisture and softness than what you get from regular-sized slices of bread. It’s a staple at many dinner tables across the state and beyond. But do you the story of its origins?
The invention of this tasty Texas delicacy occurred at a restaurant called the Pig Stand, but there’s some debate regarding which of the restaurant chain’s locations was the first to come up with the idea. The Kirby’s Pig Stand restaurant chain began in the Dallas neighborhood of Oak Cliff in the 1920s. By the 1940s, they had over 100 locations nationally. Interestingly, the chain also claims to have invented the onion ring.
The debate over the creation of Texas toast is between two Pig Stand locations. The Beaumont, Texas, Pig Stand claims to have originated the toast in 1941. An area bakery had provided the restaurant with thicker slices of bread, but the manager discovered, much to his dismay, that the bread was too big for the toasters. It seemed they’d be forced to throw the bread out, but at the last minute, one of the cooks proposed an ingenious solution: butter the thick slices of bread on both sides and fry them on the fry grill. And so the legendary Texas toast came about from humble beginnings.
However, the Pig Stand in Denton, Texas, tells a very similar story. The cook Wiley W. W. Cross is said to have come up with the idea. Cross is also credited for pairing the toast with chicken fried steak, resulting in Kirby’s Pig Stand’s chicken fried steak sandwich.
Regardless of which Pig Stand location invented the toast, the restaurant chain ultimately filed for bankruptcy and closed all its restaurants except for one. The last Pig Stand can be found in San Antonio.
As far as comfort foods go, Texas toast is hard to beat. The first crunchy bite is a powerful reminder of family dinners or late-night trips to Raising Cane’s with friends. It’s a taste of home: the big buttery, crunchy-but-soft goodness just feels like Texas.