Montrose offers dining options for just about every taste at almost any price point, which is what makes it Houston's top dining neighborhood. For a part of town that's equally capable of delivering Spanish fine dining and 24-hour red beans and rice, the absence of a barbecue joint seems odd.
Thankfully, the situation is changing, and Montrose will soon be embracing the citywide barbecue boom. Recently, Drew's BBQ opened on Richmond, and former Franklin Barbecue employee John Avila will open The Pit Room in a converted porn shop early next year.
Joining these newcomers will be the first inside the Loop location of Brookstreet Bar-B-Que. Founded in 1999 by owners Jamil Musa and Lutfi Rukab, the locally-owned, suburban-based chain will open its fifth outpost in a converted limestone house on Montrose Boulevard in March or April 2016. In addition to helping the restaurant reach a new audience, the new location will also allow for more catering to downtown and the Texas Medical Center.
Musa tells CultureMap that, as someone who grew up at the corner of West Main and Shepherd and attended Annunciation Orthodox School, he's very familiar with the neighborhood. Still, he hadn't planned to open a restaurant until he found the right location.
"I didn’t know I was going to do a place in Montrose until one day I saw this gorgeous house for sale. I bought it," Musa explains. "In the back of my mind, I’ve always wanted to turn a house into a restaurant."
At just over 1,000 square feet, the new location will be much smaller than its siblings; a drive-thru will help speed along to-go orders. Musa plans to supplement the limited amount of indoor seating with a patio.
The menu will feature the familiar Texas trinity of beef brisket, pork ribs and sausage, but Brookstreet will give the items a broader appeal by serving them as sliders on Slow Dough buns. Since the location won't have a fryer, sides are still under development but will definitely include seasoned red potatoes.
Brookstreet may not be the sort of place that gets regular media attention, but the outposts manage to feed between 2,000 and 3,000 people per day. As the photo above demonstrates, the restaurant is fully capable of turning out the sort of fatty, highly seasoned brisket that attracts barbecue enthusiasts. Getting customers to give up the leaner meat they're more familiar with has been a bit of a challenge.
"Our customers here will say, 'We want it lean,' " Rukab says. "Here, you could put (fatty brisket) in front of them and it would look amazing. They’d prefer (lean). Let them try (fatty), and they’d like it . . . Part of our education to the customer is to say this is who we are; but we also have this (fatty), and it’s really awesome."