Are you a real meat-and-potatoes kind of person, hankering for a hot, stick-to-your-ribs meal like a jumbo baked potato loaded with taco meat, chili, sausage links or barbecue? Or do you prefer something lighter but equally satisfying like a Cobb or chef salad, with quality ingredients like bleu cheese crumbles, boiled eggs, ham and grilled chicken? Or maybe you’re just craving a snack, like a chilidog or Frito pie, or a bite of something sweet, like a slice of homemade buttermilk or pecan pie, all washed down with a sweet tea over crushed ice. The Spud has you covered, with a variety of menu options and sizes at locations on either side of town. The business is a partnership between brothers Luis and Ricky Medina of Lufkin. I’ve been going to this place since I was little, and I can honestly say I eat there at least once a week. I sat down with Ricky and asked him about this hometown classic.
Q: What is The Spud’s history and when did you take over?
A: Frank and Eleana Clark opened The Spud on Frank Avenue in 1983. In 1998, The Spud was moved to 1001 S. Chestnut St., where it still stands today. After that, it was purchased by Wayne Gillispie in early 2011. Then on Sept. 11, 2011, my brother and I decided to purchase the business from Mr. Gillispie. The Spud has been a Lufkin tradition for 33 years and counting.
Q: I think your iced tea is the best in town. What is your secret?
A: The secret to our iced tea is our flaked ice, which many of our customers cannot get enough of.
Q: What was the reason for opening The Spud 2?
A: About eight months into the purchase of the first location, we were overwhelmed by the response our customers showed. We tried a new location in Nacogdoches, and after a few months we closed the location due to slow business. The response there was nothing like we have seen here in Lufkin. So, in 2015 we decided to try the west side of Lufkin at 1606 W. Frank Ave., and the response has been amazing. This is all thanks to our great customers!
Q: What is the secret to your amazing potatoes?
A: Of course we can’t give away every secret, but two important steps to delicious baked potatoes are to oven-bake them as well as the way you butter them.
Q: I recently realized you guys have dessert. I was blown away by the carrot cake. What makes your dessert so amazing?
A: The carrot cake with Philadelphia cream cheese topping is a recipe my mom has had for decades, so that makes it extra special. As for our pies, using quality ingredients makes great desserts.
Q: What menu item is the most popular and why?
A: The No. 2, which is a traditional loaded baked potato that has cheese, sour cream, chives and bacon bits, is the most popular choice amongst our customers. There are 19 more potatoes on the menu, and customers can customize their potato any way they like. We also have a kids menu, daily specials, freshly made salads, barbecue sandwiches, chili pies, hot dogs, nachos, and iced cold beverages like our iced tea and freshly squeezed lemonade. We also have flaked ice, which is the best ice in Lufkin.