The history of Houston’s oldest barbecue joint, Pizzitola’s BBQ

Jun 11, 2022

Oldest Barbecue Joint In Houston, TX

There may be countless barbecue joints in Houston today, but Pizzitola’s Bar-B-Cue was here before them all.

Pizzitola’s BBQ is proud to have a featured article on that talks about our history as the oldest barbecue joint in Houston, TX.

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.

old order counter

Recent Articles

Pizzitola’s Bar-B-Que

There's no doubt that Pizzitola's, in operation since 1935, knows how to make some darned good barbecue. There is very little that doesn't cause the mouth to water uncontrollably. Pizzitola's specialty is brisket – lean cut and so tender it just disappears in your...

Pizzitola’s Bar-B-Cue

At this bbq, clients may have perfectly cooked grilled chicken, brisket sandwiches and sliced brisket. If hungry, come here for tasty banana pudding, pecan pie and coconut cakes. Some visitors like delicious beer at Pizzitola's Bar-B-Cue. The whole impression won't be...

16 Classic Restaurants Every Houstonian Should Visit at Least Once

Houston’s culinary landscape has broadened considerably over the years, but it always had a strong foundation to build upon. Many of the old-school eateries that paved the way for Houston’s current restaurant scene are still open today, and serving up some of the best...

This Barbecue Joint Uses Brick Pits From 1935 Alongside a New Smoker

Even though Pizzitola's—formerly known as Shepherd Drive Bar-B-Q—embraces tradition, the Houston establishment isn't afraid of modernity. Pizzitola’s Bar-B-Cue has gone through many transformations in its 87-year history in Houston. The original location was bulldozed...

The big city takeover of Texas barbecue

(CNN) — Once every four years, influential Texas Monthly magazine comes out with one of its most highly anticipated cover stories. And it's not about oil or the economy or politics or tourism. It's about something that might be taken even more seriously by folks...

In Memory Of Willie Madden

We are sad to share that our champion, leader and partner, Willie Madden passed away suddenly over the weekend. To say that we are devastated is an understatement. Willie was a great man, a proud father and lived with a servant’s heart. He never went anywhere in...