It was a 1,317 mile drive that brought Daniel and Teresa Kuhm to Brownwood all the way from Salt Lake City, Utah. Some may think they made the drive for a vacation, but in reality they came to have dinner — and dinner only — at Underwood’s Cafeteria, which impressed Underwood’s owners.
“I think this is a first. For Daniel and Teresa to drive this far is amazing,” Paul Underwood, co-owner of Underwood’s Cafeteria, said.
The trip may have been long for the Kuhms, but apparently Underwood’s was worth it to them. They left Utah at 1 p.m. Wednesday and arrived in Brownwood at 8:48 p.m. just in time for dinner before Underwood’s closed Thursday night. And it was so good, they came back for lunch, Friday.
Daniel Kuhm who grew up in the San Francisco Bay area says that he experienced Underwood’s in Amarillo several times as a child on family road trips along U.S. Highway 66 from Kansas.
“It was March of 1963. I was 7 years old and we were driving back from Kansas City and we kept seeing these signs for Underwood’s with the cowboy on them,” Daniel Kuhm said.
“My dad loved barbecue and especially cafeterias so we determined we would eat at this place.”
Daniel Kuhm’s family loved the place. He says that from that time on, his family would intentionally take the south route from Kansas along Route 66 to eat at Underwood’s. According to Daniel Kuhm, he and his family ate at the Underwood’s in Amarillo in 1968 and 1969. Once in Wichita Falls in 1971 and for the last time in 1976.
Several of the Underwood’s closed in the late 1970s, according to Daniel Kuhm, including the one in Amarillo. He said he found out about the closure later when he was working for Amtrak.
“One day someone was booking a train ticket from Amarillo and we got to talking about Underwood’s. I found out from the man that the Underwood’s had closed in Amarillo,” Daniel Kuhm said.
About 30 years later, when Daniel Kuhm was working as a tour guide for the Mormon Church Conference Center, he found out that there was still an Underwood’s around.
“The man I was giving the tour to was from a smaller city around Brownwood and Underwood’s came up as it always does in conversations about Texas and he told me there was still one in Brownwood,” Daniel Kuhm said.
From the time Daniel Kuhm found out about the Brownwood Underwood’s in 2006, he has been trying to make a trip down here to relive his childhood memories as well as bring his wife to Texas for the first time.
“We were going to make a trip to California this year, but because of the fires we decided not to go. Instead we thought, ‘Well, let’s just go to Brownwood and eat at Underwood’s,” Daniel Kuhm said.
Eating at the restaurant on both Thursday night and Friday afternoon, Daniel Kuhm said that he enjoyed the meal and the memories it held.
“Underwood’s is still the best barbecue I have ever had. It’s just as good as I remember. Sometimes places change, but this didn’t,” Daniel Kuhm said.
Not only does Daniel Kuhm remember Underwood’s but he says it also often holds memories for those who have experienced it.
“Everyone older always remembers Underwood’s. My mother may not remember a lot of things, but she remembers Underwood’s,” Daniel Kuhm said.
Daniel Kuhm’s wife also enjoyed her first meal at Underwood’s.
“Underwood’s is like a small gem here in Brownwood, people shouldn’t take it for granted,” Teresa Kuhm said.
Right after their afternoon meal, the Kuhms were planning on taking a look at the old railroad station before turning right back around to head back to Utah. It is not very often that a couple goes out to dinner and end up driving over a thousand miles, but that is exactly what the Kuhms did and they loved it.