History: Remembering the original Bryan’s barbecue on Jefferson

Photos courtesy of Mary McLachlan
Photos courtesy of Mary McLachlan

William Jennings “Red” Bryan, a former Adamson High School football star, opened a barbecue shack on Jefferson Boulevard in 1930. Bryan’s father, Elias Bryan, opened the original Bryan’s barbecue on Beckley at Jefferson in 1910. Red Bryan made a small fortune at his little shack at 530 W. Jefferson, selling burgers for 10 cents and barbecue sandwiches for 15 cents. He became an Oak Cliff civic leader, and in 1947, he commissioned architect Charles Dilbeck to design and build a new restaurant. The new building, at Jefferson and Llewellyn, cost $65,000 to build, 100 times the original $650 building. Bryan sold the business in 1957 after Oak Cliff went dry, but the Sanchez family bought the building in 1983, and it’s been home to El Ranchito ever since.

Photos courtesy of Mary McLachlan
Photos courtesy of Mary McLachlan

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