Downtown Austin barbecue spot Stubb’s Bar-B-Q gets to keep its highly recognizable name after a lawsuit between the barbecue sauce company of the same name and the 801 Red River Street restaurant and concert venue.
In 2015, the current owners of the Stubb’s retail barbecue sauce brand, One World Foods, Inc. and McCormick and Co., sued Stubb’s Austin Restaurant Co. and FBR Management (which ran the barbecue restaurants) over the potential name confusion. FBR had been expanding Stubb’s by opening restaurants within its bars.
As part of the settlement deal in 2017, those auxiliary restaurants had to change their names. This meant locations at Lala’s Little Nugget in Brentwood, at Mean-Eyed Cat on West Fifth Street, and Graceland Grocery in southwest Austin were forced to change their names in late 2018 to Do-Rite Barbecue. At the same time, Stubb’s on Red River hadn’t change its name yet, and now it doesn’t have to.
The news was confirmed during the Austin induction of Stubb’s late founding pitmaster C.B. Stubblefield into the lauded Barbecue Hall of Fame this fall. He is the second Central Texan pitmaster to be honored, along with Snow’s BBQ pitmaster Tootsie Tomanetz last year.
Since the main ceremony took place in mid-September in Kansas City, the Austin restaurant and concert venue held its own commemoration yesterday, Tuesday, October 1. Stubblefield’s grandsons, Rocky and Reggie, accepted the trophy (fittingly in the shape of a rack of ribs) from members of the American Royal Association before a performance by the Marcus King Trio.
C.B. Stubblefield opened Stubb’s in Lubbock in 1968 and then relocated to Austin in 1984 when he also began to bottle his barbecue sauce. The Red River location opened in 1995, a year after he passed away. That space also grew as a concert venue, hosting bands and performers like Johnny Cash, B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and others.