The Sweep

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Mandel_stewart
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T1_caprockcafe
Cap Rock Café definitely lived up to its billing as a fabulous place to grab a meal (and a beer) on game day.
Stewart Mandel/SI

LUBBOCK, Texas -- If you're a Texas Tech fan, and you're not in a particular hurry to get to the stadium, there's no better place to have a leisurely lunch -- and drink a lot of beer -- than Cap Rock Café on 34th and Indiana. Where "The road goes on forever ... and the party never ends!" I came here Saturday on the recommendation of numerous readers ... and I'm glad I did.

The décor is all Old West -- huge murals and rodeo paraphaneilla on the walls, a deer head, a bulls' head ... you get it. And then there's the burgers. I went with the blue cheese bacon burger, but more exotic options included "The Works" (guacamole, bacon, green chilles and cheese) and a side of jalapeno-bacon beans.

T1_texastechfansnew
The people of Lubbock couldn't be nicer, even to a fast-living city slicker from New York.
Stewart Mandel/SI


If there's been one common theme of my visit so far, it's that the people are so ... nice. I can't emphasize it enough. As soon as I say I'm visiting from New York, I'm immediately greeted by a huge smile and "nice to meet you." The people of Lubbock know hospitality. One young lady I met actually attended NYU but returned to Texas because "I like it here so much better." I know my New York friends would find that a foreign concept, but I can understand completely.

And did I mention the beer?

T1_beer
One reason why Jones AT&T Stadium has earned a reputation as one of the rowdiest venues in the Big 12.
Stewart Mandel/SI


I'm not consuming any myself because I've got a game to cover, but that puts me in a very small minority. Pictured above is a "schooner" -- which, as you can see, is as big as one's head. Somehow, these people consume a couple of these and still make it to the stadium later. Or so I'm told.

As for the game tonight ... I've noticed an overwhelming sense of "cautious optimism" among the locals. Tech fans have spent so much of their lifetimes watching the Longhorns beat the pants off their Red Raiders that they're not about to start talking trash, no matter the rankings. I think the consensus goal for tonight is simply to have a great time, but if Tech pulls off the win ... hide the women and children.

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