To get to Perini Ranch, a steak house and working cattle ranch in the tiny crossroads of Buffalo Gap, most patrons have to drive for hours through the plains and hills and oil fields of West Texas. “People have to find us,” says Tom Perini, owner/operator alongside his wife, Lisa. “It started as a negative but over the last forty years has turned out to be our biggest positive.” Since 1983, the spot has been a destination for devoted carnivores. “Beef is always the center of our plates,” Lisa says. The Perinis are celebrating the restaurant’s fortieth anniversary this year with an outdoor photo exhibit (opening September 28) curated by Michael Grauer of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. “The restaurant is under a row of live oaks, and so much of the experience is outdoors, so we wanted to make these photos come to life in that way,” Lisa says. Guests can walk beneath the trees with a margarita in hand as they peruse the archives, which, along with stills of cattle-dotted landscapes and guests from long ago, include a black and white of a younger Tom, smoking a cigarette and sipping a Schlitz, propped up in the bed of a pickup, naturally, against a case of beef.
It’s What’s for Dinner
illustration: Tim Bower