When you drive southwest from Houston on U.S. Highway 59, you come to a little town that began as a railroad camp. El Campo was once considered by cowboys to be the "Pearl of the Prairies." In spite of the area's oil industry today, locally grown crops are an important economic commodity and a staple for nearby restaurants. You'll find lots of rice and corn on the menus at the numerous Mexican eateries. Likewise, the vast cattle industry in Texas accounts for the many barbecue restaurants in El Campo. Some smokehouses even sell fresh meat and Caribbean jerky. Since the Gulf of Mexico is not too far away, you'll have no trouble finding good seafood in town. Fish, oysters, stuffed crab, and shrimp are favorites among locals. Some area cuisine even has a hint of Cajun and Creole seasoning.