Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse Barbecue is one of those hidden dives in a lousy part of town that serves not only outstanding food, but also once institutionalized a specific cuisine and way of cooking.
It’s been a Dallas mainstay since 1910. The original store opened on Inwood Road and Mockingbird Lane, near Love Field Airport, adjacent to Parkland Memorial Hospital, notable because that’s where President Kennedy was pronounced dead all those years ago.
Several other locations have opened up since then — all of them in Dallas. Why they don’t expand to other markets is a mystery. I think this establishment and recipe would drive every all the other frauds out of business. The original family that started the grand tradition of smoking beff retains ownership. Moreover, the Bryan Family has maintained the same cooking techniques that made this place world-famous. It’s been featured on The Travel Channel, The Food Network, and in all the popular cuisine press — justifiably so.
Every time I go back to Dallas, I try to make at least one trip to the best (beef) barbecue place in the world — and that’s Sonny Bryan’s.
“PLAYOFFS! YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT PLAYOFFS?”
The NFL playoffs begin today.
Like all but one of each of the last 18 years, the Dallas Cowboys will not be among this weekend’s winners. That’s 17 of the last 18 Januarys spent at home.
This may seem unremarkable unless you consider the perpetual disappointment of this wasted franchise. You think the Detroit Lions or Buffalo Bills would be ranked near the top of NFL team memorabilia sales if they posted just one playoff victory in 18 years? Somebody is fooling somebody here. There are a lot of fools drinking Cowboy Kool-aid.
And therein lies the wicked wizardry of the man responsible for the brewing the punch, behind the curtain, at the controls, pulling the levers.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Jerry Jones.
Writer’s Note: Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Some 19 months before that tragic day, I was born in Dallas. My family lived in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas, which is where Lee Harvey Oswald also resided, and was ultimately captured. In today’s column, I’d like to tell you a bit more about what life was like growing up in the shadows of the Kennedy Assassination, as I remember it.
I’m probably one of the few people alive who was near the two most shocking tragedies in modern American history.
On September 11, 2001, I lived on the ninth-floor of a high-rise apartment building in Arlington, VA across Interstate 395, directly overlooking the Pentagon, which became engulfed in flames that morning after being hit by a jet airliner in the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil.
Ironically, Arlington is where John F. Kennedy’s body now rests.
On November 22, 1963, the Oak Cliff section of Dallas was my home, which was only a few miles from where President Kennedy was assassinated and an even shorter distance from where Lee Harvey Oswald was later caught by Dallas police at the Texas Theater.
Of course, I don’t remember anything about that tragic day in Dallas. I was far too young to have any memories.
But everyone who from Dallas around that time came away with a deeper awareness of what the assassination meant. Sometime later, we all developed our impressions of what had happened. We carried around the scars long afterward. That terrible moment in our nation’s history gave Dallas an inferiority complex. It forced some to try and go out and prove to the world that we weren’t like the assassin at all (who was actually from New Orleans, and even lived in New York City for a time). We weren’t “the city of hate,” as many suggested.