Friday, September 4, 2009

323 Ocean Avenue at Bluewater Highway
Surfside Beach, Texas 77541

In the Village of Surfside there are many great places that embody the laid back persona of her merchants and the calm spirit of her people; however, there is definitely one that truly stands out, one that has remained ever faithful to the special magic of the island. That place is Kitty's Purple Cow and her owner is the most unassuming delightful Miss Kitty (Bonnie "Kitty" Smith).  Click photos to enlarge and click highlighted text to view image.

Kitty is not only the owner of this interesting, island friendly restaurant/bar but she is also the chief cook and bottle washer. You can find her at "The Cow", as she lovingly refers to her beckoning purple establishment at 323 Ocean Avenue, almost 24 hours a day. She actually lives above the restaurant and spends more hours inside than any of her employees. Kitty opened "The Cow's" doors in 1983 with her late husband Mike, a retired fire fighter. The building had previously been a less than stellar barbecue joint painted green. Many cans of purple paint later and one total rebuild after Hurricane Ike, Kitty's Purple Cow is still the best hang-out in town, where locals and vacationers alike stop in for the coldest beer in town and shoot the breeze.

You won't miss this special destination, the sign out front, drawn years ago by a tattoo artist known as "Dirty Doug," still features a frisky, if somewhat emaciated cow. Kitty is proud to say that her bountiful menu features the three major Texas food groups - burgers, seafood and chicken-fried steak. Yeah Boy... Her cooks and waitresses sure know how to serve them up. The burger is touted by those who partake, as possibly the best burger in South Texas, now that says plenty.

You only need to visit "The Cow" once to become part of her history. Inside the ladies powder room awaits the poster of a muscular Chippendale model that will greet you with a smile and a strategically hinged door that covers his private parts. Go ahead and take a peek but beware, a buzzer will go off in the dining area and all who have been caught before will know you just had to take a look. You will then be greeted with a hoot upon your return, you have just been "had" at Kitty's Purple Cow and are now, along with many others, part of her history; however, don't leave yet, wait around, have another cold one because soon another unwitting pottygoer will enter, peek, get the buzzer and now you will join in the fun and hoot upon their return.

We can't say enough about Kitty's menu, it is quite impressive and will have something that would tempt just about anyone. We have sampled all offerings over the years, it is always prepared, cooked and served perfectly. The staff, even though quite busy most of the day, are attentive and cheerful.

"The Cow"  is not littered with, nor or her walls adorned with discount store framed prints and thoughtless knick knacks meant to fill space.  Her abode boasts artwork lovingly designed by family and thankful friends.

One item that can't be found on the menu or the daily special board but immediately catches your attention upon passing through the purple door at "The Cow" are the unique sights and buzzing voices of laid back local Sursidians mixed in with the colorfully clad, smiling faces of carefree vacationers. Along with these staple elements, the charm of Kitty's Purple Palace and her magnetic charm, mixed with an establishment where you will always find wonderful food and excellent service, the final ingredient that has truly aided in creating the Purple Cow's stand-out success are her patrons. You absolutely cannot enter this establishment and leave without an overwhelming feeling of kick-back happiness, without having been clued-in on some island skinny, or without having made a new friend. At "The Cow" that is "udderly" impossible.

If you make it to "The Cow", take time to visit with Kitty and her staff. Miss Kitty was a Surside alderman for well over a decade so there isn't much happening on the island she isn't aware of. While there ask what's shakin' in Surfside and let them know their friends, the Younkin family, recommended the visit. The photos posted on this site, taken by Eric Younkin Jr. will show Kitty's Purple Cow as she appears today.

If you think we may The Cow's biggest fans you may be right, but check the glowing reviews below by locals and vacationers alike that were easily found on the internet.

"In A Purple Cow On A Highway Blue" a Poem By David Devaney

Click here for link to one of "The Cow's" youngest fans.

Photo of young fans at Kitty's taken from their website.
I Love this PlaceI have been going to Surfside Beach, TX all my life. Every visit, we eat at the best burger joint around: Kitty's Purple Cow. The place has an easy going laid back atmosphere, and they supply the best burgers I have ever eaten. Kitty Smith (the owner and operator) can always be found in her restaurant. She is almost like a celebrity in those parts. It's a great place to take the family after a day at the beach, or just go and shoot pool and hang out with friends. As the sign reads, come as you are, nothing fancy, just good food. So next time you are around that part of Texas make a stop at Kitty's Purple Cow. [11 Aug 2004 10:53:09]Food: Service: Ambiance: Overall: Recommended Dishes: burger, seafood platter, crab cake, junk yard plate

My Favorite place on the beachKitty's purple cow is located a few blocks off the gulf coast and serves the best food on the island. Kitty and her friendly staff are always so friendly and inviting. The service is excellent and food wonderful and priced reasonably. I would recommend Kitty's to anyone. [31 Jan 2007 09:30:55]Food: Service: Ambiance: Overall: Recommended Dishes: Everything
MY REVIEW: I've seen this place before, but never stopped in until yesterday. What an experience! The food was terrific, the crowd was eclectic, and the service was fantastic (Angela and Lisa took care of us). Don't fail to order the cheeseburger and the clam strips. One more thing: the stuffed jalapenos are out of sight!NAME: Byron HoodSUBMITTED: 6/9/2008 LAST VISIT WAS: 6/2008FREQUENCY: Visited once
User Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
by Stacey M
08/23/2009 It is a cute little place with lots of character...I got to meet Kitty...wonderful place to go...LOVED IT!!!

User Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
by tlfllf
07/28/2008 You gotta go to Kitty's. Best on the beach! They'll let you dine outside with your dog and even bring him water and a treat!

User Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
by tammy
07/21/2008 great lil place to eat breakfast and drink a lil beer with your eggs.

User Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
by NathanD
10/24/2006 Vacation Memories: One place I always return to when I head to the beach is Kitty's. I can't help myself from going, it's a tradition since I was a kid. Go to the beach, then go to Kitty's.

User Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
by a Yahoo! Local User
10/24/2006 Surfer's Dream: After a day on the beach trying to catch a wave or two, no place hits the spot like The Cow!

User Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
by a Yahoo! Local User
03/10/2006 Good food on the beach: I really like the Purple Cow. It is a fun place with a varied menu. We've had burgers there, crab cakes, they have seafood. I stop there after the beach sometimes when I have my dog with me because they have a big outdoor area with picnic tables and I can get a beer and feed my kid and the dog is welcome. The service is good, the prices are reasonable.
Amazing little jewel...
A TripAdvisor Contributor
Jan 5, 2008
1/1 found this review helpful
Amazing little jewel. Some of the best burgers I've ever had and for a price that's easy on the wallet. This is just a little mom and pop joint, but after a day at the beach who wants to go to a fancy restaurant anyway? I give the Purple Cow 4/5 Stars for the food quality, excellent service, and the low price.
Wendi T.Houston, TX
Kitty's Purple Cow is now re-open after Hurricane Ike. I'm glad to see it back - they have been reviewed by the Houston Chronicle and are one of the best places on the Gulf Coast to grab a burger and take in the local atmosphere. Within walking distance of Surfside Beach and several local attractions.

The Purple Cow was once considered just another Surfside eatery but, has over the years, risen to the heights of, and labeled by many a Gulf Coast Landmark. If you travel to Surfside and don't visit "The Cow", you haven't truly experienced the best of this awesome island. Make plans to visit the charming Village of Surside and enjoy the wonders of Kitty's Purple Cow firsthand.  Hey, the surfers and locals alike can't both be wrong.

Our visits to Surfside are frequent, it is our absolute favorite destination. You will find quite a few photo files throughout this site, some by vacationers and residents along with many that were shot by Eric Jr. for Kitty and are used on her website. There will be additional photo files and narratives added on subsequent trips to the island and as stories and information are forwarded to us from others. Please check back often, you never know what may show up and by all means post your thoughts and comments.

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