Smokestack Restaurant – Thurber Texas, Population: 5

If you have ever driven through Thurber Texas, you probably didn’t realize it. There isn’t much there other than a couple of restaurants and a few historic buildings. With a population of only 5 people it is possible that more people commute into Thurber to work then actually live there. Don’t let its small size fool you….there is plenty of reason to visit this small town.

Thurber’s Smokestack Restaurant

Thurber’s Smokestack sign

The number one reason you should visit Thurber is the Smokestack Restaurant. Built out of the old Thurber Texas & Pacific Mercantile building the smokestack helps preserve Thurber’s rich coal mining history. The Smokestack is named after the 128 foot-tall smokestack that once provided electricity to the town.

The 128 foot tall Somkestack
The 128 foot tall Somkestack

Every time we pass through I like to stop in and order my favorite meal. The Greasy Cheesy with sweet potato fries and a cold glass of sweet tea. The Greasy Cheesy is a moist cheeseburger cooked on a flat grill and served with American cheese on a homemade bun. It is without a doubt the best burger in all of north central Texas. The sweet potato fries are unique and always hit the spot on long drives from Midland to Dallas.

The Greasy Cheesy with sweet potato fries

 After you finish some good comfort food stroll across the parking lot and look at the historic smokestack and Thurber fire station. Coal was discovered in Thurber around 1886. In 1888 Texas & Pacific Coal Company bought the land and eventually brought coal production to 3.000 tons a day. In 1917 oil was discovered20 miles west in the town of Ranger Texas. Oil burning railroads cut the demand for coal and by 1921 all Texas & Pacific Coal mines were closed. The 10,000 or more inhabitants of Thurber moved away. More than 127,000,000 tons of coal remains underground and is still owned by Texas & Pacific. This is Texas’ only known deposit of Bituminous coal.

Thurber Fire station
Thurber Fire station
The 128 foot tall Somkestack

 So the next time you are driving down I-20 in north central Texas keep an eye out for the tall smokestack. About 80 miles outside of Dallas-Fort Worth Its easy to miss. Once you stop, however, you will want to again and again.