A Goode Man

Houstonians mourn death of restaurateur who transformed culinary scene with authentic Texas BBQ

Houstonians mourn death of restaurateur who transformed culinary scene

Goode Co., barbecue, Kirby Drive
Since 1977, Goode Co. BBQ has served as a taste of Texas for Houstonians and out-of-towners alike. Courtesy of Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

Houstonians are mourning the loss of a man who changed the way the city eats. James Douglas "Jim" Goode passed away February 2 at the age of 71 from Alzheimer's, according to a report in the Chronicle.

In 1977, Goode changed Houston's culinary history when he purchased the BBQ Barn on Kirby for $6,000. Slowly, with the help of his uncle Joe Dixie, Goode began to find an audience for the style of barbecue that he enjoyed eating during his childhood on the Gulf Coast. His obituary recalls the day he sold enough food to fill two bags of trash; "he held those bags over his head like the movie Rocky." 

Whether for classics like smoked brisket and ribs or more exotic fare like duck, by the mid-'80s, Goode Co. BBQ became the place Houstonians would bring out-of-town friends and family for a taste of authentic Texas barbecue. Dining at Goode's restaurant always included leaving room for a slice of the restaurant's peerless pecan pie. Ultimately, a Goode Co. pecan pie in a wooden box would become a popular holiday treat for homesick Texans everywhere.

In 1983, Goode added Tex-Mex to his offerings by opening Goode Co. Taqueria and Hamburgers across the street from the barbecue restaurant. The mesquite-grilled burgers, tacos, and quail quickly became staples; the sort of place that would be a mandatory stop on the way home from the airport for a taste of Texas.

The addition of Goode Co. Seafood would complete the company's ability to serve Houstonians three of their most favorite types of food: barbecue, Tex-Mex and seafood. Known for its campechana, snapper preparations, and range of Gulf oysters, Goode Co. Seafood became the company's most upscale offering. Jim Goode's lifetime membership in the Coastal Conservation Association also reflected his passion for fishing and the Gulf Coast.

Now with three barbecue restaurants, two seafood restaurants, one Tex-Mex restaurant, the Armadillo Palace live music venue, and a thriving mail-order business, Goode Co. is a fixture of Houston's restaurant scene. "If success in this industry is defined by creating an establishment were folks can feel like they are at home and create lasting memories across generations, Jim Goode nailed it," Pappa Charlies owner Wes Jurena wrote Monday on Facebook

Goode is survived by his son, Levi, who runs the family business, as well as his wife, Maria Cristina, two daughters, and six grandchildren. Visitation will be held Wednesday from 5 pm to 7 pm at Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive. Goode's funeral will be Thursday at 3 pm, also at Geo. H. Lewis & Sons.

In lieu of remembrances, the family requests that memorial contributions be sent to Cure Alzheimer's Fund, 34 Washington Street, Suite 200, Wellesley Hills, MA, 02481.