Rumor no more

Rising star pitmaster to bring Brenham hotspot to H-Town — with help of Houston restaurant king

Rising star pitmaster to bring Brenham hotspot to Houston

Truth BBQ meat platter
The new Houston location will preserve the handcrafted, slow-smoked methods that have earned the 29-year old pitmaster long lines and a devoted social media following. Photo by Eric Sandler
Truth BBQ Leonard Botello
Pitmaster Leonard Botello plans to open a Truth location in Houston. Photo by Robert Jacob Lerma
U. Renee Hall Dallas police chief
Txas Monthly recognized Truth BBQ in Brenham as the 10th best barbecue joint in the state in its recent ranking of the state’s 50 best smoked meat purveyors. Courtesy photo
Truth BBQ meat platter
Truth BBQ Leonard Botello
U. Renee Hall Dallas police chief

One of the fastest rising stars in Texas barbecue has made it official: He’s coming to Houston. Leonard Botello IV announced Friday that he will open a second location of his acclaimed restaurant Truth Barbeque in H-Town.

Since opening in 2015, Botello’s locale in Brenham has become a must visit destination for barbecue fans. Texas Monthly recognized it as the 10th best barbecue joint in the state in its recent ranking of the state’s 50 best smoked meat purveyors.

Botello, a third generation restaurateur and native Houstonian, always planned to start small in Brenham before returning to his hometown. The new restaurant, described as “a prime location inside the 610 Loop” — Botello says he'll reveal the exact address "in the next couple of weeks" — will preserve the handcrafted, slow-smoked methods that have earned the 29-year old pitmaster long lines and a devoted social media following. Yes, that includes Mama Truth's decadent, sky-high cakes that have become a mandatory to-go item from any visit to Truth. 

“I knew if I could cook it, they would come. When I had the opportunity to establish myself in a small town like Brenham, on the side of Highway 290, I couldn't pass it up because barbecue on the side of the road is some of the best barbecue I've had,” Botello in a statement. "Finding the perfect spot has been in the works for several months, and I am grateful to now have an opportunity to take Truth back to my hometown, which has been a goal of mine for several years.”

Botello tells CultureMap in an email that he anticipates "it will be tough" to divide his time between both locations, but that he's in the process of moving from Austin to Houston to facilitate the transition. 

As noted when rumors of Botello’s Houston plans first circulated, his business partner in the venture is none other than Johnny Carrabba. The legendary Houston restaurateur behind Carrabba’s, Mia’s, and Grace’s adds that one visit to Truth was enough to demonstrate that Botello is “the real deal."

“The first time I came to Truth and saw Leonard and his family working together, it reminded me of me working with my family when I first started,” Carrabba said. “It’s time to bring this to Houston, while still keeping the original outpost in Brenham top of mind to Houstonians as a fun day trip. He has this passion and dedication at such a young age that you don’t see very often, or really at all. We’re just ready to sit back and let Leonard do his thing.”

With today's announcement, the flames fanning Houston's already white-hot barbecue scene just got a little hotter.