Need any more proof that Houston's barbecue boom won't be slowing down any time soon? Consider the way some of Houston's biggest restaurant names are jumping on the trend.
First, it was Johnny Carrabba partnering with pitmaster Leonard Botello IV to bring Brenham's acclaimed Truth BBQ to Washington Avenue. Now, Pappas Restaurants, the company behind the 18-unit Pappas Bar-B-Q chain (among 90 locations across eight states), will be putting their own spin on Central Texas-style barbecue — with a twist, of course.
The company's latest concept, Pappas Delta Blues Smokehouse, which opens in Webster next week, marries barbecue with Southern comfort food in an environment that constitutes a step up in quality from Pappas Bar-B-Q.
On the food side, that means using USDA Prime brisket from Creekstone Farms — the same supplier for Texas Monthly top 50 joints like Franklin Barbecue, CorkScrew BBQ, and Pinkerton's Barbecue — plus St. Louis-style pork ribs, smoked Berkshire pork belly, two styles of sausage, and the mandatory "big boy beef rib." Comfort food options include chicken fried steak, fried chicken, and catfish (fried or blackened) alongside steaks: specifically, a Prime ribeye and a pepper-crusted filet. Think of it as one part Pappas Bar-B-Q, one part Pappas Meat Co. (the company's casual steakhouse that closed last year), one part Pappadeaux, and a heavy dose of new items created by the company's R&D chefs.
“There are a certainly a growing number of barbecue restaurants in the region, and while we’ve been highly successful with Pappas Bar-B-Q and our other concepts, much of that success is due to our willingness to adapt and change,” said Pappas director of marketing Christina Pappas in a statement. “Delta Blues marries a lot of what we do best—from exceptional service to innovative recipes—in one brand new restaurant.”
Unlike most other barbecue restaurants where diners wait in line to order from a counter, Delta Blues will offer table service. In addition, the restaurant will offer a full bar with a focus on beer, cocktails, and an extensive selection of American whiskey. The opening spirits list even includes three varieties of the highly-coveted Van Winkle bourbons: the 10-year ($45), the 12-year ($50), and the Pappy Van Winkle 20-year ($75).
“This restaurant is really a new way to experience barbecue,” Pappas added. “When serving Prime brisket, you can’t serve it on trays. Beautiful food should be served in a manner and environment that equals the food. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do with Delta Blues.”
Pappas' contention that Prime brisket can't be served on trays will come as a surprise to the upper tier barbecue joints that do it every day (Killen's, CorkScrew, Pinkerton's, the Pit Room, etc), but the quality of ingredients that Delta Blues utilizes will be something new for its location. Certainly, the combination of smoked meat and steak has proved a winning one for Killen's STQ.
Will Pappas find a similar level of success? Diners will get the chance to find out for themselves starting November 1.
Pappas Delta Blues Smokehouse, 19901 Gulf Freeway Webster, TX 77598; Hours TBA.