Is Texas ready for a $6 million BBQ joint? A new restaurant is coming to Fort Worth

Lockhart-based Terry Black’s Barbecue will open a $6 million barbecue restaurant in Fort Worth next fall, according to a permit application.

Terry Black’s, with family ties to one of Central Texas’ legacy barbecue families, is building a 6,400-square-foot restaurant on a former Wendy’s hamburger stand site at 2926 W. Seventh St.

The land sale to Terry Black’s, which has a Dallas location in Deep Ellum, was announced in January. But the permit application with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation is the first hint at the size and scope of the project.

“Sounds like Terry Black has figured out how to make a decent profit selling barbecue,” Daniel Vaughn replied by email. He’s Texas Monthly magazine’s “BBQ Snob” and author of the recent column about the proliferation of good restaurants, “Has Texas Brisket Peaked?”

Fire pits welcome the patrons at Terry Black’s Barbecue.
Fire pits welcome the patrons at Terry Black’s Barbecue.

“With three successful locations now, and their willingness to invest heavily in a new location, it’s hard for me to question how much they should spend,” he wrote.

Terry Black’s Barbecue opened in 2014 in Austin after a family split with 90-year-old Black’s Barbecue in Lockhart.

Terry Black’s expanded to Dallas in 2019 and returned to Lockhart in 2022.

Mark Black said in January that the restaurant will serve “straight-up Central Texas barbecue — the same thing we’ve been doing since the 1930s.” (No burgers or brisket tacos.)

Brisket and sausage with slaw and creamed corn at Terry Black’s Barbecue.
Brisket and sausage with slaw and creamed corn at Terry Black’s Barbecue.

Customers at the Dallas location often say, “come to Fort Worth,” he said.

“The barbecue scene in Fort Worth has blown up,” he said.

“We love to be in areas where barbecue is king,” he said.

The Blacks are also building a restaurant, winery and resort in Driftwood near Austin.

The Cultural District neighborhood near the Stock Show grounds is currently served primarily by two traditional restaurants: Angelo’s Barbecue, open since 1958 at 2533 White Settlement Road, and by the Railhead Smokehouse, open since 1986 mostly at 2900 Montgomery St.

Terry Black’s Barbecue is less crowded at lunch than nearby Pecan Lodge.
Terry Black’s Barbecue is less crowded at lunch than nearby Pecan Lodge.

A chef-driven barbecue restaurant and bar by TV celebrity Graham Elliot and executive Felipe Armenta, F1 Smokehouse, is open nearby at 517 University Drive.

Several of the city’s “new school” barbecue restaurants have achieved state top 10 or top 50 rankings, led by Panther City BBQ, 201 E. Hattie St. (also mapped as 201 E. Pennsylvania Ave.)

Panther City started in a van on a vacant lot, then took over a nearby bar and has since expanded into another former bar across the street.

“It would be nice if we had that kind of funding!” Panther City partner Chris Magallanes wrote in an online message.

“We are busting at the seams here at our little joint but I think that kind of adds to the charm of it all. ... We are just blessed to be operating in a time when so many doors are closing.”

Dayne Weaver of state top-50 Dayne’s Craft Barbecue, currently at 9840 Camp Bowie West Blvd. and remodeling a new home at 109 S. Front St., Aledo, wrote admiring Terry Black’s.

Black’s is “a great operation,” he wrote, and “definitely some of the best mass-produced commercial Texas barbecue out there.

“$6 million is a lot to spend to have a barbecue joint,” he wrote.

The Terry Black’s site three blocks from the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth is valued at $1.8 million for the land alone.

The old Wendy’s was built in 1977 and replaced a 40-year-old Texaco station. It’s next door to In-N-Out Burger on an upgraded section of West Seventh Street where three new hotels are expected.

The closest current location is open for lunch and dinner daily at 3025 Main St., Dallas.

Fort Worth gained statewide fame in 2021 when Goldee’s Barbecue south of Kennedale was ranked the state’s best and 11 more local restaurants made the “50 best” or top 100.

Also listed among Texas Monthly’s 2021 guide to the state’s top 50 barbecue restaurants:

▪ Hurtado Barbecue, 1116 Eighth Ave., Fort Worth, and 205 E. Front St., Arlington.

▪ Smoke-A-Holics BBQ, 1417 Evans Ave., Fort Worth;

▪ and Zavala’s Barbecue, 421 W. Main St., Grand Prairie.

A “Best of the Rest” honorable mention list included 407BBQ, Argyle; 225° BBQ, Arlington; Bare Barbecue, Johnson County; BBQ on the Brazos, Cresson; and Heim Barbecue, with three locations in Fort Worth and Dallas and a new restaurant expected next year in Burleson.