Day Trips: Coupland Inn and Dance Hall
Something’s new at the old dance hall and eatery
The Coupland Inn and Dance Hall looks like a red brick fortress surrounded by the rolling hills of the Blackland Prairie north of Elgin. The new owner is sprucing up the iconic restaurant and ballroom to its historic proportions.
Abbey Road – only lawyers and bankers call her by her given name – took title to one of the last vestiges of the once prosperous farming community in June 2017. Since then the petite and overall-clad entrepreneur has breathed new life into the restaurant, dance hall, and seven-room inn.
Of the three businesses rolled into one, Abbey admits that the restaurant presents the most challenges. A former on-air personality at KOKE and KDRP, she spent almost 10 years as a booking agent for Luckenbach and Threadgill's before moving to Coupland. But running a kitchen was out of her comfort zone. With advice from friends who are chefs, she is mastering the finer points of cooking brisket and steaks.
The dance hall is also showing signs of her talents. The honky-tonk is bringing in more headliner acts like Shinyribs, Asleep at the Wheel, and Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis.
About 30 minutes from Austin, Coupland was founded in 1887. The two-and-a-half-story brick building that houses the eatery and inn was built in 1904 as a pharmacy and doctors' offices. The dance hall portion was added in 1910, originally as a hardware store.
In 1992, Barbara and Tim Worthy revitalized the building with legendary barbecue and steaks and good music. Abbey sums up the destination with the slogan: "Eat. Drink. Dance. Stay a little longer."
The Coupland Inn is about 7 miles north of Elgin and 8 miles south of Hutto off Highway 95.