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Historic Barbecue Spot Sam’s Bar-B-Que, In Danger of Closing, Appeals to Locals

Owner Brian Mays is urging East Austin to pay a visit

The Sam’s Bar-B-Que building
The Sam’s Bar-B-Que building
Sara L./Yelp
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

Don’t worry: Sam’s Bar-B-Que, the historic, African-American-owned East Austin barbecue spot, is still open, but it might not be for much longer. Because the barbecue joint is on coveted land on 2000 East 12th Street, owner Brian Mays has been fielding very, very high offers from developers who want to purchase the land, knock down Sam’s, and replace it with apartment buildings, of course. This includes a recent offer of $3 million.

Mays told the Chronicle that he refuses bids because of the East Austin community, but urges people to come into the 60-year-old restaurant to keep the business afloat. Eater tipsters have noted recent spotty hours.

Sam’s dishes out the usual barbecue staples (brisket, ribs, sausage), along with mutton and sides. The restaurant is known for its slogan painted across the facade of the building: “You don’t need no teeth to eat my beef,” as well as its late night hours (until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday). Sam fans include comedian Marc Maron and musician Questlove.

Sam’s opened in 1957 by Sam Campbell. After he died, Dan Mays Senior took over in 1976. He passed the restaurant along to his son Brian.

Sam's Bar-B-Que

1110 South Bascom Avenue, , CA 95128 (408) 297-9151 Visit Website