Black's Barbecue confirmed plans to open an Austin outpost after The Statesman posted a photo of a door sign bearing their name. In a model not unlike Royer's Pie Haven, Black's will still do all the cooking in Lockhart and bring the finished product to Austin.
Eater spoke with Kent Black about the details of shipping up brisket, the recent battle over the use of the family name with forthcoming Terry Black's Barbecue, and the overall trend of old-school barbecue joints opening up in Austin.
Why did you decide to open an Austin outpost of Black's?
Customers have been asking us for many years to come to Austin. The Austin market has matured enough now that they're ready for some serious barbecue. North of the UT campus is a good location, and we're very excited about bringing Lockhart barbecue to Austin.
What's the process for bringing barbecue up from Lockhart to Austin? You won't be smoking on site.
We'll be cooking it in Lockhart and commissarying it to the Austin location, fresh off the pit. Companies do that in Austin already. You keep it hot, bring it to the restaurant, and keep it hot there. The location is smaller and might not have all the sides or every one of the meats, but it will be good representation of same experience you'll have in Lockhart.
When your nephews Mark and Mike Black decided to open an Austin barbecue restaurant, they say you filed a cease-and-desist over the use of the name "Black's." Was that in part because you were planning an Austin expansion?
Black's Barbecue is trademarked and owned by my parents' company. There can't be any confusion in the market. We're glad Terry put his name on the restaurant, so folks will know it's his place. The one on Guadalupe will be a Black's Barbecue. It's a business my parents built and has been blessed with a good reputation. We don't want our customers confused.
Is that why you decided to call the new San Marcos outpost Kent Black's Barbecue?
Yes, the San Marco location is a separate business and separate entity. That's why it's called Kent Black's Barbecue.
Lots of historic barbecue establishments are now expanding into Austin, most notably Cooper's. What do you make of this overall trend?
I'm very excited about it. We just found the more barbecue the better, it generates more excitement about barbecue. In Lockhart, which is a small town, we have lots of big barbecue restaurants and everyone does well. Austin is a growing, vibrant community, I welcome more coming to town. There's room for everybody and I encourage people to try them all.
· All Black's Barbecue Coverage [EATX]
· All Expansionwire [EATX]