Like most small towns in Texas and across the United States, Lufkin  has many generic chains and a few admirable local down-home eateries. One of the most popular is Mom’s Diner (900 W. Frank Ave., 936/637-6410, $6–13). As its name implies, this semi-rustic spot specializes in comfort food, including one of the best chicken-fried steaks in the area as well as juicy burgers, fried chicken, and an outstanding peppered cream gravy.
For old-time greasy and tasty burgers, head to Ray’s Drive In Cafe (420 N. Timberland Dr., 936/634-3262, $4–8). Locals love the classic ’50s feel and fare, including the mouth-watering bacon cheeseburger with onion rings, mushroom burger, chili dog, and chocolate milkshake. The surrounding sound of classic oldies music completes this nostalgic scene.
To experience a classic East Texas  barbecue joint, go directly to Bryan’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Q (609 S. Timberland Dr., 936/632-2255, $7–15). This small, rustic smokehouse has everything a barbecue place should—smoke-stained photos of local and regional musicians, hearty portions of succulent meat, and a sticky, tangy sauce. Brisket and pork ribs are the favorites here, and you can’t go wrong with the better-than-average sides, particularly the savory beans and sweet potato salad.
Lufkin Bar BQ (203 S. Chestnut St., 936/634-4744, $7–15) isn’t quite as strong on character, but the food is nearly as good. Tasty brisket and spicy sausage are the way to go, or try a chipped beef sandwich if you’re not in the mood for quantity. The sides here are rather average, but a cold Dr Pepper will always enhance your meal.
Lufkin  is known more for its barbecue than Mexican food, but there are several places in town that draw sizable lunch crowds. One worth visiting is the consistently reliable Café Del Rio (1901 S. First St., 936/639-4471, $6–14). From the crispy chips and spicy salsa to the loaded nachos and sizzling fajitas, Café Del Rio doesn’t disappoint.
Also recommended is La Unica Tortilleria (1614 N. Raguet St., 936/632-1680, $6–13), offering terrific tamales and fantastic “fajitadillas,” a zesty fajita and quesadilla combo.
Another local hot spot is El Taurino Mexican Grill (3900 Hwy. 69 North, 936/699-3344, www.eltaurinomexicanrestaurant.com , $5–14), featuring classic Mexican combo dishes with enchiladas, tacos, chile rellenos, and burritos.