Built more than 100 years ago as part of The Redlands Hotel, the Queen St Grille offers an elegance and historic character that celebrates Palestine’s railroad heritage with sophistication and flair.
The Grille offers everything available at top-rate metropolitan establishments, yet in a more relaxed, small-town atmosphere. The menu features high-end Angus steaks, a variety of appetizers and exotic seafoods, specialty cocktails, and handmade desserts.
Locals and travelers alike enjoy the Grille’s casual fine dining experience in the restored restaurant. Hotel guests can enjoy lunch, dinner, and brunch during getaways that celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, or other special events.
The restaurant’s airy, inviting interior retains its original elegance as the premier dining room of the booming railroad town. Tall, open windows offer picturesque views of two historic buildings, Palestine’s Carnegie Library and Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
The Grille’s Chef Sam Moffitt is Palestine’s steak aficionado. Both the steaks and the chef are loved by the locals as they made them winners in the town newspaper’s 2020 Readers Choice awards.
The Grille’s menu features 8 oz. 1855 Brand Black Angus Filet and 12 oz. 1855 Black Angus Ribeye, both cut by hand and cooked to tender perfection. Moffitt says 1855 Black Angus steaks sell for twice as much in larger metropolitan areas.
“We try to carry the best we can to serve to a market that is affordable and not overpriced,” Moffitt says. “For the products we serve, we could ask for more in a bigger city.”
A full wine menu complements the restaurant’s fine steaks and entreés. A recent addition is Clos DuVal Cabernet from Napa, California, which has aromas of blueberry, cinnamon, and cloves, and a light texture. “This is a perfect wine for steaks,” says Jean Mollard, co-owner of The Redlands Hotel.
Chef Moffitt aims to please his clientele with specialties that rival any metropolitan steakhouse. The chef’s two decades of experience allow him to experiment with new flavors and combinations and frequently add new items to the menu.
Moffitt’s Lobster Mac & Cheese is an appetizer favorite among guests. The dish is comfort food at its finest, with four ounces of lobster tail, creamy cheese sauce, and a savory truffle oil. Shrimp Cocktail, a Cheese Board, and Roasted Artichoke Hearts are other appetizer selections.
Seafood delicacies are always on the menu. The Grille currently offers Crab Cakes, Chipotle Salmon, and Swordfish.
Other entreés include Lambchops, Chicken Fried Ribeye, and the Oaxacon Tomahawk Porkchop, a melt-in-your-mouth tender cut with Spanish and Native American influences. The Grille serves this dish with green beans and garlic mashed potatoes. Side dishes served with other mains include rice pilaf with asparagus or mixed veggies.
Handmade desserts like Tuxedo Cake, Chocolate Ganache Cake, Tiramisu, and Key Lime Pie richly complement the dinner menu and add formality to any special occasion.
Cocktails to Cocoa
Cocktails are reminiscent of the town’s railroad history, with names like Rusty Spike, Switch Back, Train Wreck, Brass Rail, and Runaway Train. Mollard says many of today’s cocktail recipes were served at the restaurant when it opened in 1914.
A wine flight featuring smaller portions of wines from Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards in Pittsburg, Texas, allows guests to sample the vineyard’s range of flavors. Varieties include Blanco Grande, Pink Tuscadero (a red zinfandel), Pinot Noir, and Sangiovese.
The bar also serves standard beers, craft beers, and a variety of wines from California, Washington, France, Italy, and New Zealand.
Hot drinks for chilly winter nights include Irish Coffee, Buttered Rum Coffee, and hot cocoa, a favorite of visitors who stay at The Redlands during the holiday season. Hotel guests find that a stay at The Redlands pairs well with the Texas State Railroad’s train excursions.
Moffitt says he welcomes families with young children and offers menu items pleasing to them. As a parent, the chef recognizes that any dining experience is difficult with young children, so he offers kid-friendly menu items and visits them in the dining room, or may send their dessert out early to keep them occupied while parents enjoy their meal.
“I strive to take care of the little ones because I have a few of them,” he says. “If the kids are happy, the parents can have a better dining experience.”
Cooking Up Variety
Menu variety is a standard at the Grille, changing about four times a year. Moffitt’s experience helps him adapt flavors from different cultures, which he tastefully and experimentally adds to different meats, fish, and vegetables. Asian cuisine, one of the chef’s favorites, inspires several new dishes.
Moffitt trained as a French pastry chef in Houston then worked at the former Alden Hotel and the Magnolia Bakery in The Woodlands. He hails from Tyler originally, where he began working at a family-owned Italian restaurant at age 12. Moffitt says he still enjoys making savory Italian dishes like Chicken Piccata, another Grille mainstay.
Changes provide variety for the Grille’s upscale local clientele, Moffitt says, as do special events. For example, the Grille offers a Sushi Night the third Wednesday of each month.
Brunch, served Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., is an event guests of all ages enjoy. Popular items include Queen St Shrimp & Grits, the Royal Burger, Sausage & Waffles, and kid-friendly options.
Queen St Grille is open for dining, takeout, or delivery. Call (903) 723-2404 to order or make reservations, which are not required, but suggested. Visit www.queenstgrille.com to see their menu or for information.