By Janis Turk | Photos courtesy of Pecantown Books & Brews
Named for the “World’s Largest Pecan” monument on Seguin’s downtown Square, Pecantown is a good day-trip lunch destination. Visit and discover why so many folks are nuts about Seguin’s sweet little bookstore and café.
On a frosty winter Friday, warm soup, toasted sandwiches, strong espresso, fresh scones, and crisp salads fill the menu while a well-curated selection of books line the walls of Seguin’s beguiling little Pecantown Books & Brews.
Set in a little yellow house just a block from the twinkling-light-filled trees of the city’s downtown square, this sweet spot entices guests with a warm air of welcome and wonder.
An independent bookstore, intimate cafe, artisan shop, and convivial community center, Pecantown is the perfect place to curl up with a good book in a corner chair, order a glass of wine, and enjoy a quiet afternoon. It’s also an excellent breakfast, lunch and early dinner destination where friends gather over sharable plates and dish about books.
Featuring a carefully curated menu of fresh dining options, from salads to soups to sandwiches, charcuterie, and pastries, Pecantown “offers thoughtful selections from authors, publishers, breweries, wineries, and farms to create a highly personalized and uniquely local experience,” say owners Tess Coody and Heath Anders, a couple committed to the enrichment of their hometown.
Drawing guests from San Antonio, Austin, New Braunfels, and surrounding communities, this Guadalupe County jewel box is a delightful culinary destination and a bibliophile’s dream come true, just 30 miles from downtown San Antonio.
Two years ago, San Antonio businesswoman Tess Coody never would have considered “restaurant owner” to be her true calling. Since 2017, she served as vice president for strategic communications and marketing at her alma mater, Trinity University. Prior to that, she’d been a name partner and COO of Guerra, DeBerry, Coody Marketing and Communications in San Antonio and also served as the founder and CEO of Wellvana, a digital consumer healthcare platform, as well as CEO of Resolute Health.
Running a restaurant had never entered her mind; opening an independent bookstore had.
“Living through the pandemic reinforced for me the reality that tomorrow is not promised; we need to act on our dreams and passions. That’s why I launched my passion project, Pecantown, in June 2022,” says Coody.
“It was important to support the growth and diversification of offerings in our historic downtown, so we added a small cafe with a menu to inspire and engage customers and to help us meet our mission to bring books and book-related events back to our town,” she says.
However, locals say the café filled a need in Seguin by creating a unique culinary and cultural community hub.
“Tess thought she was opening a bookstore with a little café on the side — not the other way around. But the food is so good, it was sure to draw crowds,” says Seguin business owner and designer Amber Ehrlich of Keepers Interiors. Before long, Tess and Heath had to move more tables indoors and out.
Locals couldn’t have been happier with the marriage of fine food and good books.
“Bookstores act as community conveners, fostering what I call ‘productive collisions.’ People who might not otherwise connect are more likely to do so when they break a book open or break bread together, and we are making both happen here,” says Coody.
Just as carefully as Coody, chef Rita DeLeon, and operations manager Hanna Perry painstakingly curate their menus, Coody has thoughtfully curated a selection of nonfiction, literary fiction, and children’s books. Pecan also seeks to offer unique experiences, like book clubs, writing groups, and other exciting events, such as a monthly Wine and True Crime evening and the “Pecan’s Cook the Book Club,” in which guests buy the same cookbook, each prepares a different dish to contribute to a family-style meal, the chef prepares a main dish from the book, and then she leads a group discussion of cooking techniques, flavors, and ingredients. This month, try Pecantown’s smoky and sweet take on the classic Reuben, made with roasted beets and a house-made Russian dressing served on marbled rye. Other temptations include a salad of crisp pear, brie, cranberry, and pecans. There’s also a tasty smoked chicken salad and a pulled pork with cranberry chipotle chutney sandwich locals love. House-made hummus served with vegetables, grapes, and naan complements daily soup specials.
“Our menu changes seasonally, so our culinary team works with local growers and purveyors to offer a fresh and accessible array of options. It also means our tiny kitchen must be ever-creative,” says Coody, who loves how her Pecantown passion project keeps her surrounded by books and book lovers.
“It’s exciting to see how the story of our food and the stories on the shelves inspire each other.”
Pecantown Books & Brews
12 S Camp St, Seguin, TX 78155 | (830) 491-9155
Janis Turk is an award-winning travel writer, guidebook author, and editor whose work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The Houston Chronicle, The Dallas Morning News, New York City Plus, Southwest Airlines Spirit, United Airlines Hemispheres, AAA Texas Explorer, the Travel Channel, Forbes and more. She has appeared as a guest travel expert on CNN’s airport network and has penned guidebooks for Frommer’s and Smarter Travel.