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Tuneful Texas Tea and Coffee has warm atmosphere

Nov. 30, 2004

By DEANNA LOWERY, reporter

Home to less than 5,000 residents, one drive-thru pizza parlor and an annual, off-the-beaten-path rodeo, McGregor is a quiet town. But located at 402A W Third St., is the town's newest attraction: Texas Tea & Coffee. Tiny twinkling lights decorate the underside of the green awning, and upon walking in, one drinks in the warm yellow walls and distinct caffeinated smells of the newly-refurbished building.

Each customer is greeted from behind the counter by general manager Sherilyn Collins.

"Our vision is to have a studio upstairs and the music we record downstairs," Steven Collins, Sherilyn's husband and Baylor grad, said.

Troubadour Studio, located above the café, is Steven's brainchild; he's also the head engineer and producer.

Texas Tea & Coffee had its grand opening Nov. 20, which featured live music by folk-country artists Michael Fracasso of Austin and Canadian Andrew Walker.

Half-price drink specials were included in the five-dollar entry fee, and tea candles dimly lit each wooden table.

Walker, right at home in Texas, wore a blue jean jacket while playing guitar, and sang several songs about Canada, rail yards and lost loves. He stood on the shallow stage and prefaced each song with the story inspiring it.

"This is a song about where I grew up ... My mom called it the 'rear end' of Ontario, but I liked it," he said before his third number.

Fracasso, like Walker, leaned toward the Americana. He had an anecdote for each song and opened his set with, "It was the 1950s."

Referring to his non-Texan heritage, Fracasso said, "They dubbed me a native Texan while I was in the Midwest ... [Texas] culture I don't always understand. When you get involved with someone, the women don't leave Texas."

Acoustics in the eatery were surprisingly good, despite the espresso machines' competing whir and buzz.

Sandwiches, smoothies and salads along with tea and coffee are just some of the fare the café offers.

A mammoth slice of homemade carrot cake, which includes real carrots, is $3.25 but worth the price and more than enough for an empty stomach.

The sandwiches, each $5.25, are served with a choice of bread, spread and cheese as well as potato chips (the turkey-and-cheese sandwich with pesto spread is highly recommended).

The place was packed by closing time, and the Collins' were pleased to see it.

"We're happy to see the audience is into it; they're listening," Stephen Collins said.