Austin BBQ, a downtown Wheaton restaurant with Texas-style beef and brisket and a smokey barbeque smell that travels for blocks celebrated its two-year anniversary in business over the weekend.
Following a 10-year partnership with a Rosati's restaurant in Rolling Meadows, owner Doug Pierce at 226 W. Front St.
He told Patch after the opening that he started barbecuing at his house five years before opening, using meat from the Wheaton Meat Co. Once he refined his spices to satisfy his taste buds, he invited his personal team of taste-testers to sample his food.
“I would have 70, 80 people over to try out my food,” he said. “I used my family and friends as my guinea pigs and I solicited feedback from them. After the party was over, I just ate and ate and ate.”
"We specialize in Texas-style beef brisket, smoked until rendered and tendered," Pierce said. "In keeping with the Texas market traditions, we serve it with white bread or saltine crackers, with pickles, onions, and cheese on the side. We also serve pulled pork, babyback ribs, St. Louis ribs, beef ribs, California-style Tri-Tip, chicken with a white barbecue sauce, smoked burgers and brats and hot links."
“The neatest thing about this place is the all-wood burning pit,” he said. It uses no gas and no electric. The stove weighs 4,200 pounds, and it took a crane to lift it off the truck when it was delivered, he said.
“I am a Chicago boy who considers himself an honorary Texan,” said Pierce, a Wheaton resident. “There is a Texas flag in the window. I didn’t hang that right away. I had to have people come through here from Texas and tell me that my food was of Texas caliber."
“This is the best brisket I’ve had outside of Texas,” San Antonio native Oscar Rodriguez said. “I’ve tried a lot of places locally that just were not up to par."
Austin BBQ, 226 W. Front St. is open Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Grace Reband contributed to this story.