On a trip down south, there are a few places perfect for a pit stop. The Hop is one of my newfound favorites.
With a well-executed 1950s theme, The Hop offers seriously low-priced entrees of all kinds. On a recent trip, my husband and I dropped by and grabbed the Boudin Balls for an appetizer. They had great flavor, especially paired with the ranch dressing. I mean, boudin is always good when cooked correctly. The breading on The Hop’s version is different but good. The only downside is that it can be a little awkward to eat because of the size, especially when hot.
We chose the Super Nachos, Shrimp Basket, Double Chili Cheeseburger and the Personal Pizza for our entrees. The winners of this lineup are the Shrimp Basket and the Double Chili Cheeseburger.
The Shrimp Basket has a huge portion of shrimp with sides of fries, hushpuppies and tartar sauce. The batter covering the fried shrimp is delicious with a great lingering flavor from the oil it is cooked in. The hushpuppies were also great because they didn’t commit the cardinal sin of dryness.
The Double Chili Cheeseburger is a well-balanced representation of chili burgers. While I’m typically the type who loves to overindulge in burgers that will take years off my life, I also respect ones that deliver exactly what I asked for without making it inconvenient to eat. The Hop puts just enough chili in their burgers to give it that flavor and feeling you expect to get from a couple patties well-soaked in chili, but it doesn’t make a mess all over your hands and plate or drench the bread until it falls to pieces.
The Super Nachos were good. Runny cheese and chili with a great flavor and a slight spice and fresh tomatoes, lettuce and jalapeños cover thin tortilla chips. The dish is good, but it suffers from the classic nacho dilemma with most of the ingredients topping the center top layer of chips and leaving the rest dry. However, if you get to it quickly enough, you can spread the ingredients to your heart’s content before anything gets too soggy.
The Personal Pizza had the most potential but left much to be desired. The Hop offers homemade pizza in a variety of special flavors or a build-your-own option. I was excited, hoping for the best. The toppings delivered with a delicious cheese blend and perfectly cooked pepperoni, bacon and jalapeños. However, the crust and breading tasted more like supermarket freezer value than a homemade pan pizza.
Overall, The Hop is a great place. The vibe is great from the decor to the music from the classic jukebox. The small staff stays busy while balancing a drive-thru window, bar seating and an open dining area. Yet they are familiar with their regulars, calling them by name and knowing their seat and orders. The communication between the different areas of responsibility was comforting, because a restaurant that works together has more consistency in quality.
The Hop is at 14801 state Highway 104 in Coldspring. It is open from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For more information, call 653-4889.