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Isen Ismaili, owner of Ari’s Italian Restaurant in Harker Heights, wants to make sure that his diners get the best of what he has to offer.

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Stillhouse Wine Room in Killeen offers its patrons a respite from noisy sports bars that dot the landscape of the city. There is no blaring music, just the soft sounds of jazz, or crooners, like Frank Sinatra, singing in the background, and there is no TV showing the latest news or sporting event.

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When Wes’s Burger Shack & More burned in 2014, owner Wes Teeter didn’t blame anyone. He didn’t say, “Lord, why me?” Instead he said, “Lord, why not?”

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Vickie Silva is a foodie. As owner of Ma’s Place Restaurant in Harker Heights, her eatery is more like walking into mom’s kitchen and keeping her company while she cooks. Ma’s Place seats around 30 people, with some limited seating outdoors. She serves breakfast and lunch, and her community …

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  • Alexander’s perfect for celebration or casual night out
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Nestled among the trees along the banks of Salado Creek is what some describe as a Central Texas hidden gem, Alexander’s Distillery. The upscale-casual restaurant and cocktail lounge is as rich in ambiance as it is in history. Alexander’s is located on the site of an old 19th century distillery, once owned by William R. Alexander. A flood washed the building away many years ago.

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  • TexTalk: Flavours
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Location: 206 E. Rancier Ave., Killeen

  Phone: 254-526-2326 

Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday. 

Eat in or take out.

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I remember hearing somewhere that you can dine around the world without ever leaving Killeen, and I am beginning to understand that statement. Every month, Tex Appeal looks for a unique, family-owned and operated restaurant that can take you away from the norm of everyday food and introduce you to an international world of cuisine. Such was our discovery at Glendora’s Guyanese Caribbean & American Cuisine in Killeen.

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Two-and-a-half years ago, Brian and Isabel Lahmann opened Big LL’s BBQ in Killeen. Located on the south end of a strip center off Fort Hood Street, this storefront eatery offers “slow cooked tender meats and sides of comfort food.”

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  • Story by CATHERINE HOSMAN Photos by MITCHEL BARRETT
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Drive south on Stan Schlueter Loop until it dead-ends into State Highway 201, turn left and then make an immediate right into a three-storefront center that houses Killeen’s newest Italian eatery, the Italian Cuisine Restaurant.

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  • Story by CATHERINE HOSMAN Photos by ERIC J. SHELTON
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For a taste of Thailand, visit Narunya’s restaurant in Belton. Family owned and operated, Chef Narunya prepares from scratch curry dishes from her native Surat-Thani, Thailand, and a fusion of other Thai recipes. Everything on the menu, except for the noodles, is homemade. That includes her …

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  • Story by CATHERINE HOSMAN Photos by MITCHEL BARRETT
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Housed in a historic building in downtown Belton, the Sarsaparilla Saloon and Café offers diners a unique lunch menu that is ever-changing. Owned and operated by Belton native Tammy Wilson, since 2008, she said she was inspired by her friends to open her own restaurant because she was such a…

  • Story by CATHERINE HOSMAN Photos by JULIE NABOURS
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Benny Ismaili is no stranger to the restaurant business. Born in Italy and raised in the former Yugoslavia, owning a restaurant was an extended family tradition.

  • Story by CATHERINE HOSMAN Photos by MITCHEL BARRETT
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So Natural Organic Restaurant and Market in Harker Heights offers its customers a healthy choice for dining out. Owned and operated by Luvina and Jameel Sabree, it is a family-owned and operated restaurant that serves locally raised grass-fed organic beef and locally sourced organic vegetabl…

  • Story by CATHERINE HOSMAN Photos by MITCHEL BARRETT
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Geechie’s Southern Style Restaurant brings a taste of the coastal Sea Islands of South Carolina to Killeen. It’s family-owned and operated by retired U.S. Army veteran Jerry Lewis Moore Sr., executive chef and CEO, and his wife, Latanya White-Moore, COO. His three daughters also pitch in to …

  • Story by Catherine Hosman Photos by Mitchel Barrett
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Ambrosia Tea Room in Salado offers its guests an atmosphere of geniality with its vintage décor that is reminiscent of a turn of the 19th century cafe.

  • Story by Catherine Hosman Photos by Mitchel Barrett
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Yummy Rummy’s in Belton is a family-owned and operated restaurant that offers a variety of yogurts, candy, home baked goodies and meals, including summer salads, cowboy bowls and baked potatoes, to name a few.

  • By Valerie L. Valdez Photos by Karin Markert
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The first image that comes to Monica Macy’s mind when she thinks of her “Nonna,” Italian for grandmother, is her hands. “I remember Nonna Maria’s hands covered with flour working the dough for making pasta. For her, cooking was showing love,” Macy said in her Harker Heights home.

  • By Catherine Hosman Photos by Mitchel Barrett
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One of Temple’s newest restaurants, LaRiv Italian Cuisine, is a culinary visit to the Tuscan region of Italy. Owned by Viral Chudasma, also the proprietor of Nolan Creek Winery in Belton, LaRiv (Viral spelled backwards) offers an Italian-inspired dining room and a rustic menu with wild boar …

  • Story by Jessica Pearce Photos by JAMES PAUL STANLEY
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Raj Dhaliwal’s seemingly middle-class home contains a Pandora’s Box of spicy secrets. As she greets guests at the door, a sparky Pomeranian named Twinkle warns visitors with a series of staccato barks, warding off the unwary mailman and occasional UPS driver. Raj’s daughter, Ravneeth Maan, q…

  • By Jessa McClure
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Love is in the air and there’s no better way to celebrate a day full of romance than with an intimate dinner for two at one of the area’s fine dining restaurants.

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Chocolate has been tempting tastebuds for thousands of years. It’s also been used in some very unique ways, even if, come Valentine’s Day, the majority of people would be content just to eat it.

  • Story by Jessica Pearce Photographs by James Paul Stanley
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At the end of a long week or a stressful day at the office, customers visiting Seoul Garden in Temple can unwind in a warm atmosphere away from the outside world.

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Thomas Leija, chef at the Dead Fish Grill created whiskey Creole salmon, one of the restaurants signature plates. Paired with a "cham-rita," a margarita infused with champagne, and the lake view all lend to an intoxicating experience.

  • Story by Catherine Hosman Photographs by JULIE NABOURS
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Pignetti’s Italian Restaurant has been a Temple staple for 11 years. Owned by Clinton and Lydia Harwell, it is known for its fusion cuisine that blends traditional Italian with American, Hispanic and Spanish flavors. Chef Robert Hernandez said this blending of ethnic flavors elicits comments…

  • By CATHERINE HOSMAN
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For a touch of Italy, Giovanni’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria in Copperas Cove offers a variety of Italian cuisine ranging from a variety of pasta dishes, steaks, appetizers, and pizza created in the kitchen of Chef Ismael Frias. Their thin-crust pizzas are baked in an authentic stone o…

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When it comes to food, there’s nothing more Texas than steaks, barbecue and chicken fried steak. Throw in some live country music and you have a complete Texas culinary experience.

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Enjoy Father’s Day at Megg’s Café and Hamilton Bread Company, family-owned and operated by the McCaffrey family. Local ingredients, including their meat and produce, are used whenever possible.