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Salt Lick Co-Founder Hisako Roberts Is Dead

Hisako Roberts was 104

Hisako Roberts, left, with her husband Thurman Roberts
Hisako Roberts, left, with her husband Thurman Roberts
Salt Lick/Facebook
Erin Russell is associate editor of Eater Austin, a native Austinite, and a big fan of carbs.

Austin lost a barbecue icon last week when Salt Lick co-founder Hisako Roberts died at the age of 104 last week.

Hisako and her husband, Thurman Roberts, started the legendary barbecue restaurant in Driftwood in 1967. Thurman met Hisako, a child of Japanese immigrants, while he was stationed in her native Hawaii during naval service. The two married and returned to the Driftwood property that the Roberts family had held since the 1860s to start the restaurant.

Hisako Roberts put a unique spin on dishes from the Salt Lick by bringing flavors from her upbringing, like adding poppy seeds to the coleslaw and introducing tempura-fried vegetables.

After Thurman Roberts died in 1981, running the restaurant passed to Hisako, a notorious perfectionist. She technically retired in 1987, but as her son Scott Roberts, who still runs the restaurant today, explained in the Salt Lick Cookbook: “She would pop in daily and share her ‘wisdom’ on what we were doing wrong. (She has shared a lot of that wisdom over the past several years.)”

Instead of flowers, the family request donations are made to KLRU (Austin PBS) or the University of Texas at Austin.

The Salt Lick

18300 Farm to Market Rd 1826, Driftwood, TX 78619 (512) 858-4959 Visit Website