People from all around the Upper East Side of Texas enjoy the vibe at Art Foster’s first restaurant, Foster’s Place Restaurant & Pub in Pickton, Texas, since it opened in 2010. With good food, live music, and its middle-of-nowhere “getaway” location, it’s a popular dining destination for many.
Regulars from the larger town of nearby Sulphur Springs — about one-third of the original Foster’s clientele — urged him over the years to open a restaurant in the Hopkins County seat.
With his market research complete, Foster began looking for a suitable location. After a few years went by, he eventually found the right fit and purchased a building at 313 Main Street near downtown Sulphur Springs and calls it Foster’s Filling Station.
While Foster’s Place in Pickton still thrives on a combination of popular American entrees, a large variety of craft beers, and live musical performances on a large outdoor porch two or three times a week, Foster refined his concept for his second location to better meet the needs of the town called “Celebration City.”
The new Foster’s is a sleeker, streamlined protégé. It has an indoor dining capacity of 55, roughly one-third smaller than Foster’s Place, which can seat up to 70 patrons indoors. Both locations have outdoor dining.
The new menu is also smaller, offering a selection of craft burgers made of grass-fed beef from Rail 19 Quality Meat Company north of Sulphur Springs. A short list of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, chicken, and craft sodas on tap are available on Foster’s new menu, but the focus is on gourmet burgers to complement the restaurant’s 100-plus craft beers.
Foster says his gourmet burgers contain top-notch ingredients like sour dough and brioche bread, farm-fresh lettuce, and sauces made on-site.
“We use good quality ingredients, and many are locally sourced,” he says. “We’re taking that normal burger to a different level.”
The Angry Mexican tops the list with salsa made in-house, jack and cheddar cheese, jalapenos, and shredded lettuce. Hot & Bothered, The Banker, and the Brunch — which combines sausage, fried egg, cheddar, and mustard — round out the list of specialty burgers.
Standards include the Filling Station, Black & Bleu (with smoked bacon and bleu cheese dressing) and the Mushroom Swiss Burger. Sandwiches include a Buffalo Chicken Sandwich and Which Came First, a combination of grilled chicken, a fried egg, Filling Station Sauce, and chopped lettuce.
Despite the streamlined menu, Foster does not cut back on spirits. The Filling Station sells 100 varieties of beer, wine, and ciders delivered by Texas distributors and breweries from across the country. Best Maid Sour Pickled Beer, Salsa Verde Hatch Chili & Tomatillo Ale, 903 Brewers Peanut Butter Stout, Lagunita’s Hazy Memory, and Rosemary Plum Hard Cider are just a few choices.
There’s no question regulars are attracted to the Foster’s Filling Station atmosphere. A large garage door built between the dining areas can open to allow guests to enjoy entertainment indoors and out.
“It makes the place more lively,” Foster says. “It gives a different feel, a different vibe when there’s live music.”
A separate, enclosed carry-out counter in front of the new restaurant allows patrons to conveniently order and pick up food, beer, and wine, but they’re also welcome to sit down a while, enjoy the music, and sip a craft beer or cider.
Foster’s Filling Station is open 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, call (903) 919-3759 or visit their Facebook page.