Co-owners Chuck Charnichart, Alexis Tovías Morales, and Haley Conlin will serve fantastically fun barbecue dishes with South Texas tinges. Expect Mexican-spiced briskets, lime-zested ribs, lamp chops, green spaghetti (pasta with creamy poblano sauce), beans a la charra, avocado slaw, and spelt bread with cinnamon swirls. Drinks-wise there’s cucumber lemonade, and, for sweets, bread pudding.
Charnichart and Morales grew up together and the three worked at Austin restaurant Franklin Barbecue in 2017 and became great friends. All three have worked at various barbecue restaurants, and Brownsville-raised Charnichart was a pitmaster of Fort Worth spot Goldee’s (which was named Texas Monthly’s best barbecue restaurant in the state while she was there). The trio held their first pop-up as Barbs in the summer of 2021 at Goldee’s, and cooked at events throughout the state. The name refers to what rapper Nicki Minaj fans call themselves: Barbz (yes, they’re fans as well). The plan was to open a physical restaurant eventually, and they happened upon the available Lockhart space while cooking at a Texas Monthly event.
Lockhart is the perfect city for Barbs, seeing as it’s considered the barbecue capital of Texas, with many legacy smoked meats restaurants like Kreuz Market, Smitty’s Market, and Black’s Barbecue. Barbs, though, offers something fun and new, breaking the mold of what could be considered the typical Texan barbecue joint with the group’s approach to flavors and dishes, alongside the enjoyable vibes and very pink-and-red decor. The logo features hearts and curly serifed font. There are anime-ish-slash-Western-ish T-shirts stating “All these briskets is my sons,” with a woman in a cool cowboy hat holding up two guns.
The counter-service restaurant will only be open on Saturdays starting at 11 a.m. until everything is sold out (Conlin predicts this will happen around 3 to 4 p.m.). For its opening day, Lockhart Mayor Lew White is hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the restaurant. After its opening day, the group is hosting a brisket-making class at the restaurant space on Sunday, May 28.