Sonny Bryan, whose original vision for top-tier Texas barbecue is still alive and well, used to keep the restaurant open until the 800 pounds of meat ran out (usually around 1 pm). He’d spend the rest of the day riding his bicycle around town.
A lot has changed since the days of Sonny and his bicycle but we’re proud of the blend of old and new you’ll encounter while visiting our flagship store.
It’s easy to spot imposters in the barbecue industry. Looking for authentic barbecue that stands out among all the other briskets? We’ve got the roots and the history to prove you’re in the right place.
“THE ONLY SMART THING I EVER DID WAS FIND SOMETHING I COULD DO WELL, AND DECIDE TO BE HAPPY DOING IT.”
February 13, 1910
Elias Bryan opens the first Bryan’s Smokehouse on Centre Street. He quickly becomes known for sharing with Dallasites his family secret of cooking untrimmed meat with the lean side down. It’s an instant hit!
Elias Bryan’s son Red opens his Smokehouse on Jefferson Street. Nicknamed The Tin Shack... barbecue sandwiches are sold for 10 cents.
Sonny Bryan, manager of Red’s restaurant, decides to put his own stake in Dallas barbecue. He and his beauty pageant wife sell their gun collection and move across the river to build their Smokehouse in “wet” Dallas. February 13, 1958 marks opening day for Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse. Thankfully smoking meat didn’t require electricity because the wiring was not in place on opening day.
Sonny Bryan’s is known for attracting the most diverse crowd anywhere in Dallas. It became a hangout spot after civil rights demonstrations and a place where anyone-- no matter the color of their skin or color of their collar- could come and enjoy lunch.
Notable figures such as Richard Nixon and Julia Child stop in for some brisket!
Sonny Bryan sells his legendary name and recipe to the Harman Family before dying of cancer.
Changes come to Sonny Bryan’s as the flagship restaurant is renovated and expanded to make room for more people. A beer room is added to bring the pleasure of craft beer to the barbecue experience.
The Original Sonny Bryan’s, located on Inwood Road, becomes the first and only BBQ joint in the State of Texas to be open 24/7.
Sonny’s famous brisket recipe is revamped to be even better! The Hill Country Brisket is introduced to Dallas.
Sonny Bryan’s hits a major milestone and celebrates 60 years on Inwood Road!