The history of Houston’s oldest barbecue joint, from segregation to present day

Jun 17, 2022

The storied restaurant dates back to 1935, when John and Leila Davis opened it with the name Shepherd Drive BBQ. The couple quickly garnered a loyal following for their hickory-smoked meats and tangy barbecue sauce, but during the Jim Crow segregation era, they offered dine-in service only to other Black people, while white guests had to take their barbecue to-go. From a walk-up window behind the restaurant, white patrons would wait long periods to score brisket, sausage and ribs, enjoying their meal at one of the picnic tables on the property.

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