Downtown is already a hot spot for urban dwellers but soon it will become smoking hot. Restauranteur Bill Floyd and chef Bryan Caswell (Little Bigs, Reef, El Real Tex Mex Cafe) have partnered with Gatlin's BBQ's head pitmaster Greg Gatlin for the joint venture Jackson Street BBQ. Replacing former sports bar Houston Live, the forthcoming smokehouse is preparing to open across from Minute Maid Park in April.
While the restaurant won't open until later in the month, the trio will provide inquisitive barbecue lovers with a sneak peak of its limited menu Monday, April 6. It's no coincidence the date falls on the Astros opening day. Caswell is a huge supporter of the baseball team, operating several concepts inside Minute Maid Park, but on this day, he's inviting everyone to try the 'cue and check out the new digs.
A blend of industrial meets ranch, much of the space is outfitted with aluminum siding encased in red-painted wood. Two huge custom-built chalkboards hang near the entrance and ordering station, both displaying the menu of the day. Light fixtures fashioned from Mason jars illuminate the restaurant. An eclectic mix of wooden and metal table sets fill the massive dining room that seats around 200. Bars are stationed on both ends of the dining room, providing a great view of the stage that will soon be filled with music talents. A space is being built for a VIP section as well.
The highlight of the dining room is the smoker. The smoker sits in its own room, which is built in the shape of a house from the outside. Surrounded by glass, guests are able to see the meat go in and off the fire while dining.
Check out the gallery below for a glimpse inside the transformed Houston Live space that now houses Jackson Street BBQ.