There's a new BBQ restaurant set to open near Fair Park doing craft Texas barbecue with a little "Texican" flair: Called Parry Avenue Barbecue Company, it'll debut next week at 4300 Parry Ave. as a full-service food truck, then blossom into a brick-and-mortar restaurant with a full bar.
Owner is Leo Morales, a restaurant industry lifer who was most recently culinary director and operating partner at Barrel & Bones Craft Bar and Smokehouse and previously a manager at Smoky Rose, the East Dallas BBQ restaurant.
It was at Barrel & Bones that he earned a reputation as a skilled pitmaster. He's also a generous soul who led a charitable initiative during the pandemic called the Great Texas Bar B-Que Pickup, where he and fellow Dallas-area pitmasters prepared brisket to feed furloughed bartenders.
He's the rare food & beverage professional who's worked both in the back and front of the house — but barbecue has become his true passion.
"I was fortunate enough to work and help develop concepts for others in the past and am truly grateful for all of the opportunities," he says. "I have always wanted to create and be true to the craft of barbecue."
The way he does that is to literally have his hand on everything he makes, so he knows it's right.
"For me, there's no designated time — I watch everything as we cook it," he says. "I'm probably in the firebox and the heat of the smoker more than I should be, but my goal is to pull the meat off the smoker with intention and make sure it's all there."
He also invests it with a personal touch by drawing from his heritage.
"I am Latino, and I use that as inspiration," he says. "Like doing a play on my grandmother's Colombian empanadas, but filled with brisket. I definitely include tacos on the menu. I do traditional Texas BBQ but with a Latin flair — a lot of umami that adds loads of flavor so you savor every bite."
He's especially into ribs. He uses a dry rub — "but we don't get too crazy," he says.
"My ribs are some of the best you'll ever get in Texas, and I have so much respect for other pitmasters, but I baby my ribs," he says. "A perfect rib has plenty of meat but I want to make sure when you bite into it that you don't have to tug. It should be an easy pull and leave you with a clean bone."
The space he's taking was most recently Bo-Leo's Taco Shack, which closed prior to the pandemic.
"I think the location is perfect for what I'm doing," he says. "Barbecue is a very specific niche market that people come out for. I am in the belly of the beast, with Pecan Lodge and Terry Black not too far away. But barbecue is subjective. It's like red wine. Only you know what you're going to like."
While he's working on the brick and mortar location, he'll set up his food truck from which he and his co-pitmaster Derek Parker will start serving barbecue within the next week or so.
They just took possession of "Little Mama," a 1K gallon smoker previously owned by Chad Sessions, award-winning pitmaster and owner of Smoke Sessions Barbecue in Royse City, who delivered it with a ringing endorsement, saying: "With this pit and his skill, big things are about to happen in Dallas at Parry Avenue Barbecue Company."