This story has been updated with an interview with Grant Pinkerton.
The Hill Country-style barbecue joint will occupy a 5,000-square-foot restaurant—with indoor and outdoor seating—on the northwest corner of the park that Weston Urban is redeveloping across from the new Frost Tower on North Flores and West Houston streets.
The 1.1-acre park is scheduled for completion this summer, while Pinkerton’s opening is slated for late-spring 2020.
“They came to Houston and ate our food and presented a really unique opportunity for the whole development down there,” owner Grant Pinkerton, who lives above his restaurant, told the Heron. “It’s a pretty unique opportunity for somebody to open a restaurant in that park space. I thought it would be a great fit for a barbecue joint, one that feels like Texas when you come in. A big part of our place in Houston is that it’s an experience.”
The stand-alone restaurant in west downtown will also have that Texas feel, Pinkerton said.
In terms of the food, “Man, we have smoked everything,” he said of what he described as craft-style barbecue.
They smoke prime briskets, beef ribs, pork ribs (glazed or dry), turkey, chicken and pulled pork. Because Pinkerton hails from Houston and has some Cajun blood, he includes items such as duck jambalaya and boudin sausage. Pinkerton’s is also known for its craft cocktail and wine programs that pair with the smoked meats.
In a Forbes article also published Tuesday, Pinkerton said he was excited to join Weston Urban’s development plans early on.
Of course, Weston Urban is co-developing the new Frost Tower and the adjacent park. But the company, owned by philanthropist Graham Weston, has development plans for several properties it acquired (or will acquire) from the city (including the Municipal Plaza Building) and Frost Bank in the deal that resulted in the Frost Tower being built. Overall, Weston Urban has agreed to build 265 housing units in the area. It also owns properties outside the scope of that deal, including a two-story commercial building on the northwest corner of Commerce and North Flores streets, where a 7-Eleven is located.
Weston Urban President Randy Smith said restaurants and retail businesses are mandatory in Weston Urban’s future developments.
“You will see no office (development) with office on the ground plain, nor will you see a residential project that is not mixed-use,” Smith said.
Weston Urban is basically trying to do its part to revive west downtown, which used to be one of San Antonio’s most vibrant communities before it was literally bulldozed during urban renewal.
Others are joining in.
Two blocks south of the park, on Dolorosa Street, the University of Texas at San Antonio plans to build its National Security Collaboration Center and School of Data Science, as well as relocate its College of Business, by 2023.
The San Pedro Creek project, the backbone of west downtown, continues to receive funding for its upcoming phases. The first segment, which runs from the flood tunnel inlet behind Fox Tech to Houston Street (next to the Frost Tower) opened in May.
Getting in on this growth early, for Pinkerton, was a no-brainer.
“You always want growth potential,” Pinkerton said of his business. “One of the things I love about barbecue—when people come to town, they ask for two things: Mexican food and barbecue. You know, barbecue is destination food. Especially craft-style barbecue. … We have people drive three hours to come and eat barbecue.”
In his interview with Forbes, he threw some shade at what he called downtown’s chain barbecue spots. The obvious example would be Bill Miller Bar-B-Q, while some might consider The County Line to be in that chain category, as well.
Pinkerton said there’s a difference.
“It’s definitely it’s own genre,” he said. “People love it, and some people love the other style.”