An important question was recently posed on episode 491 of the podcast, Freakonomics Radio, “Why Is Everyone Moving to Dallas?” Host Stephen J. Dubner visited Dallas to explore the nuances of this question, but the answer, to us, is quite simple—people are coming to Texas for the barbecue!
Immediately upon leaving the airport, Stephen Dubner heads straight to Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse, as one does. Dubner’s team recognized that Sonny Bryan’s might be “the only 24-hour barbecue place in Texas,” but it was not short on good food.
Dubner enjoyed the Stuffed Baked Potato that he described as” a gargantuan baked potato stuffed with barbecued beef brisket.” He is not wrong. The Stuffed Baked Potato is a fan favorite on the menu, right next to the Frito Pie.
In the episode, Dubner and Cullum Clark, professor of economics at Southern Methodist University and director of the Bush Institute-S.M.U. Economic Growth Initiative interviewed Brent Harman, the owner of Sonny Bryan’s, in their quest to find out what exactly is the appeal of Dallas and why it has become a hub for people. Harman believes, “It’s a really friendly place. I mean, noticeably friendly.”
Which is true, of course; the people are very friendly in Dallas. If you’re looking for some real genuine Texas-hospitality—alongside some delicious barbecue, Sonny Bryan’s is the place to go! Brent Harman believes, “What’s really powerful about this particular restaurant, but I think barbecue in general, is it appeals to the masses. It’s the oil men and the oilfield workers sitting side by side, it’s the doctors and the ambulance drivers, it’s teachers and executives. And there may be a limo that pulls up, and the limo driver is going in to get food for some rich dude.”
Unlike many restaurants, Sonny Bryan’s appeals to everyone. It knows no boundaries, and that’s why Dubner has “come to learn'' that Sonny Bryan’s “is a Dallas classic.” Sonny Bryan’s is a family-owned business, with three locations in and around the city that also offers barbecue catering and barbecue delivery, so good barbecue (and good company) is always within reach.
Come to Dallas for the iconic Texas barbeque, or onion rings so big, according to Dubner, they “could have collared a mid-sized dog,” and stay for the friendly atmosphere and authentic history at Sonny Bryan’s.
Listen to the Freakonomics episode "Why Is Everyone Moving To Dallas?" here.
When Stephen Dubner learned that Dallas–Fort Worth will soon overtake Chicago as the third-biggest metro area in the U.S., he got on a plane to find out why. Despite getting stood up by the mayor, nearly drowning on a highway, and eating way too much barbecue, he came away impressed.