Foodie Road Trip Discovers Texas History and More at Prasek’s
Kolaches, Beef Jerky, BBQ, Shopping and Wine…Oh My!
Texas small towns have much to offer on our long journeys back and forth from Houston to Austin, Victoria, San Antonio, San Marcos and more.
What makes this bearable, besides our beautiful Texas scenery, is the fabulous food we find along the way. Knowing where to go for some of the best barbecue, great snacks, fresh baked goods and most importantly, clean bathrooms, is paramount.
Prasek’s Hillje Smokehouse, with two locations, is a great place to find all these goodies in a warm, intimate setting with Texas-size smiles greeting you while the air filled with a mix of sweets and smoked meat.
IN SEALY–WHAT YOU’LL FIND
In Sealy off I-10, there’s no shortage of literally anything you need for a comfortable road trip or perfect rest stop. Stop in and out for gas, or take your time lingering to shop, dine in the restaurant, or pick up a hostess wine gift.
The main thing about Prasek’s that Texas road-trippers are going to love is the variety of smoked meats, including tamales, jerkies and sausage sticks. Don’t miss that Czech bakery filled with poppyseed choices, fruit-filled kolaches, and even little Piglets, sometimes known as Pigs in a Blanket.
Craving ice cream? No problem. There’s an ice cream parlor there. Need an extra ice chest with accessories for the trip down the river or a boating on Lake Travis? They have that too.
Best of all, this freshly made food is all made in house.
Prasek’s Duane Korenek said baking starts in the early hours of the morning. They produce 30,000 pounds of sausage a week, and even process wild game. “Everything is made here from sausage to strudels,” he said.
This family owned and operated convenience store has a long history in Texas.
It began in October 1974 when Mike and Betty Jo Prasek purchased Hillje Grocery, a typical small town store, which became the conception of Prasek’s Hillje Smokehouse. Mike’s parents, Adolph and Allyne Prasek, were in the grocery business while Mike was growing up, so this was a natural place for him.
Hillje Grocery evolved into a combination grocery store, meat market, saloon, and feed store. The Prasek’s operated the store by themselves.
After noticing inconsistency in the sausage they were purchasing, the Praseks decided to produce
their first smoked product, Pork & Beef Sausage. Initially, 50 pounds of sausage was made in their meat market every other week. As time progressed, Beef Jerky was added to the line of smoked meats. Their Beef Jerky has become one of the top sellers of all the smoked meats and has been rated one of the Top Jerky in the United States by the magazine, Saveur.
On March 1, 1981, Prasek’s Hillje Smokehouse opened on the corner of Highway 59 and Strnadel Road. The store was a typical convenience store with a bit more. Luncheon meat and fresh Bar B Que were added, and the bakery was started in 1981 when Mike and Betty Jo’s son, Mike Jr., needed braces on his teeth. To help finance the expense, Betty Jo started baking and selling strudels. From then forward, Prasek’s Hillje Smokehouse was in the bakery business.
Over the years, they continued to grow exponentially with Prasek’s Hillje Smokehouse now operating at 15,000 square feet along with online and wholesale orders as well as distribution of their meats in large markets.
In September 2017, Sealy welcomed Prasek’s Hillje Smokehouse for their Grand Opening to a large turnout.
Tradition and commitment to their customers, both new and old, is their inspiration.
“Then and today, it’s our pride in the quality of the products,” said Korenek. “Our whole company is strong in family values, and we hold true to that today.”
The Sealy store, located at 2949 SW I-10 Frontage Rd, and the Hillje location is at 29714 US 59 Highway. For more information on store hours, go to www.praseks.com.
photo credit: V. Sweeten