There's change going down in Dallas BBQ, with one barbecue restaurant changing its identity, and another closing its in-house dining and switching over to catering.
Back Home Barbecue
The barbecue restaurant and drive-through at 5014 Ross Ave. has closed its operation as a dine-in spot. According to a release, the location has been taken over by its sibling Big Box Catering, and will be used for catering, delivery, and pick-up.
This does not mean the brisket goes away. Patrons can continue to order through a variety of methods, such as BigBoxCatering.com or Big Box BBQ on UberEats.
The Ross Avenue location, which took over a quirky Chinese restaurant, was originally intended to be a commissary kitchen. But the company couldn't resist the idea of trying Texas barbecue, and Back Home was born. Barbecue has now become Big Box Catering's biggest seller.
Big Box Catering is owned by Century Oak Foods, which also owns Company Café, the restaurant on Lower Greenville; and Liteful Foods, a gluten-free bakery that sells via online retail and wholesale.
The barbecue restaurant which has been at the northeast corner of Walnut Hill Lane and US-75 in one form or another for more than a decade, closed on January 1 — but it will re-open as HQ Prime Beer Garden in January 4.
This is not the first name change for the restaurant. It started out as Red, Hot and Blue, a location of the national chain doing Memphis-style barbecue. But in 2017, the restaurant changed its persona to RHBQ, undertaking a $2.5 million renovation that included the installation of a large patio, with seating for 165 and a 12-by-8 foot video screen used for sports-watching, movie nights, and the like; and a beer garden that hosts live music.
HQ continues a program to upgrade the restaurant by owner Craig Collins.
"When we changed it to RHBQ, it was our goal to create an elevated experience with live music," Collins says. "We love the space. And we've hosted all sorts of fun events there from national BBQ cooking classes to sports watching for Alabama alumni. It just turned into something different from the Red Hot and Blue brand."
Doing their own brand seemed like the best way to differentiate what they were doing, he says.
"With HQ Prime, we're billing it as a prime gathering space, prime sports-watching, 27 craft beers on tap, prime meaning best," he says.
They'll have prime rib including a French dip sandwich, and redfish out of the Gulf. Collins brought in chef Christopher Prieto, a renowned national BBQ champion, to consult on their BBQ program including upgrading to prime beef for their brisket, and developing of a new rub. Aaron Willis is their new director of operations.
"But the prices really haven't changed," Collins says. "The brisket went up a dollar. We just needed a higher-end concept here. With all that's happening at this corner with The Hill development, the market demands a more upscale gathering place for sports and live music."
Collins also owns Nazca Kitchen, which is coming up on its sixth anniversary — prior to the 2017 arrival of TreeHouse, the eco-friendly home store, which closed in December after a year.
The Red Hot and Blue chain still has a Dallas presence: There are two corporate-owned locations in Plano and Irving/Las Colinas. There are also three locations in Tarrant County — in Fort Worth, North Richland Hills, and Flower Mound — owned by a franchisee.