Imagine an edifice of massive logs and rustic wood slats. Inside, the walls are decorated with various dead aquatic animals hoisted onto plaques. Now, place that structure on a Texas lake, attach a marina complete with TVs, neon beer signs, and live music. Add a kitchen that serves frosted schooners of beer and a bevy of fried food and a gift shop that peddles a bedazzled “Lake Life” sign. If this sounds like your ideal American redneck Riviera, then you’re in luck – and you’re only about 45 minutes away.
Tucked in a cove on the bend of Lake Granbury, just south of the town’s historic square, is where you’ll find Stumpy’s Lakeside Grill (2323 S Morgan St, 817-279-1000). Going on its 11th year, Stumpy’s has morphed from a rundown marina into a polished family-oriented entertainment complex, all while garnering the title of the longest operating marina on the lake.
While the summer weekends are wildly popular due to the abundance of sun-kissed flip-flop-wearing and margarita-guzzling lake lovers, Stumpy’s food menu is good enough to count as a destination restaurant. The kitchen draws lunch crowds year-round that usually form a quick-moving line – especially on Taco Tuesday, one of several weekly specials. Coming three to an order, the warm corn tortillas deliciously swaddle the pineapple honey-lime slaw, freshly sliced jalapeños, chipotle mayo, and protein of your choice: grilled or fried fish and shrimp, grilled or Buffalo-style chicken, or the El Pollo Furioso, a tear-inducing spice blend that coats the chicken like little switchblades stabbing your palate. If you’d rather play it safe, the kitchen offers a chicken Caesar salad option that actually works well as a taco.
The rest of the menu reads like familiar Southern recipes from a tattered cookbook found on a Mississippi bayou. And there’s nothing wrong with that when executed well. Baskets lined with red-and-white-checkered paper capture both cornmeal crumbs and grease from catfish, shrimp, and cod. The plates are accented with fries, hushpuppies, and buttery Texas toast. Other standouts include a hoagie po’ boy or build-your-own-burger, including the challenging three-patty option called the Triple Bypass.
Apart from being a lakeside grill, the other side to Stumpy’s multifaceted operation is the bar, where large garage bay doors are lifted when the weather is tolerable, allowing Kenny Chesney songs to drift onto the patio, where waterfowl are frequently fed leftovers by kids. Frozen drink machines twirl in harmony while beer is poured from taps into goblets so cold that ice clings to them. The TVs will usually project an assortment of sporting events, making it a go-to place for each season of the sports spectrum. And the lodge-like atmosphere provides an acceptable viewing location during the fall and winter seasons. However, ripping off shirt sleeves, passing out high-fives, and drinking Budweiser feels just a little more justified when it’s summertime here in this lakeside paradise.
To complete the whole marina experience, Stumpy’s offers rentals for watercraft such as kayaks, paddleboards, and boats. You can also lease a slip for your own personal vessel. Don’t neglect to visit their in-house bakery, the Sweet Shack. Feel like eating a cream-filled cookie sandwich or strawberry-lava fudge cupcake? They have them. Just make sure to grab one to-go before donning your life jacket and riding that blazing-fast pontoon into the sunset while waving Old Glory. Crank up “Proud to be an American.,” jam a cold beer and sweet cupcake into your gullet, and strike up a round of high-fives. This is Murica at its most Murican.