Lockhart Smokehouse opened in the Bishop Arts District about two and a half years ago as an authentic Texas Hill Country-style barbecue place. In true meat-market style, brisket is ordered by the pound. In the beginning, there were no forks and no barbecue sauce. After a one-star review from the Dallas Morning News, which stated “that forks and plates are taboo started to feel like an affront,” and complaints from customers, Lockhart added barbecue sauce and, yes, forks, to their offerings.
“We had to pivot on that, and that was a good learning experience on ‘give the customers what they want,’” says Jill Bergus, who owns Lockhart with her husband, Jeff Bergus, and their business partner, Tim McLaughlin. “We don’t know everything about the barbecue business; we don’t know everything about the restaurant business; but we’re certainly willing to learn.”
Since the early days, much has changed at Lockhart. The restaurant consistently is mentioned among the best barbecue places in Texas, most notably, in Texas Monthly’s “Top 50 Barbecue Joints,” which comes out every five years.
“That’s the Texas barbecue bible,” Jeff Bergus says. “If you make that list you’re in an elite fraternity.”
Diners travel from all over the region to sample Lockhart’s smoked meats, and during peak hours on the weekends, the line sometimes snakes from the counter to the front door and around the dining room. Sometimes, the restaurant sells out of meat. But barbecue enthusiasts understand, Jeff Bergus says.
“When we run out, we run out,” he says. “The majority of the people who come here are barbecue people. Last Saturday, we sent at least 60 people out of the line, and not one person complained.”
Lockhart is opening a second location in old downtown Plano as early as Dec. 1.
400 W. Davis
Ambiance: Casual/counter service
Price range: $10-$15
Hours: 11 A.M. “’till we’re done,” Monday-Sunday
More smoked meat
1 Hardeman’s BBQ & Catering
This take-out-only place is an Oak Cliff classic. The Hardeman family once had outposts all over town, but just a few are left, including this one in Oak Cliff. Reliable brisket, spicy sausage and yummy sides.
618 S. Westmoreland
Wonderful house-made smoked sausages, whole-hog barbecue and coffee-cured brisket are just the basics. There is also foie gras and chicken liver pâté, chicken tamales and a smoked pork chop that will change your life.
901 Fort Worth Ave.
3 Babb Bros. BBQ & Blues
This was the first restaurant to open at Trinity Groves, serving Texas and St. Louis-style barbecue. The cafeteria-style restaurant has a huge menu of smoked meats and sides including cheesy potatoes, creamed corn and onion straws.