In the northern reaches of Austin lies a diamond in the rough. Removed from the bustle of the city, a small community welcomes a new restaurant.
Opened on Jan. 6 by Mark DeLong and managed by Landon Kash, Oakwood BBQ is serving up an old tradition with a twist.
“We just have a passion for food,” DeLong said. “In this part of town there’s really not a lot of homegrown, local places, you know?”
The project itself started about two years ago, but the partnership was a long time in the making. DeLong and Kash began as childhood friends who began experimenting with old family recipes.
Despite their traditional Texas roots, they take an a eclectic approach to barbecue. They source their ingredients locally, making everything from scratch and opening the door for novelty. Thirty-year pit master Wally Colvin adds Louisiana flair to the Texas recipes, from creative sandwiches such as “The Herd” to the restaurant’s best-selling turkey.
“That’s the way to do it,” DeLong said. “If you want it to be done right and have a flavor that’s unique and different, make it yourself.”
But the attention to detail doesn’t end there. In order to create a rustic and homey feel, DeLong said he oversaw the restaurant’s construction by building much of it himself.
Though famous barbecue spots can be found in heart of Austin, the outskirts of the city are often forgotten. Oakwood BBQ is the only barbecue outlet in its area, establishing it as a center of the community. Even the restaurant’s name is inspired by its location — the barbecue is smoked with 200-year-old oak, there’s a tall oak at the front, the street name is Oakwood and the neighborhood’s name is Oakwood.
“It’s kind of like a neighborhood barbecue place,” DeLong said. “Mainly, the people who live in this neighborhood come here, they really support us.”
Oakwood is an industrial area. Once a feed store, the building itself remains uniform with the landscape. It doesn’t stand out, but word travels fast, and the customers are as loyal as they are numerous. After a month, some had already visited a dozen times.
“Everyone’s just really happy,” Kash said. “There are old ladies in the neighborhood; they’ll give me hugs because they’re so happy to have something like this.”
William Atkins, an employee at the restaurant, said the Oakwood area originally lacked high quality food. But one day, he ate at Oakwood BBQ, and that was enough.
“They’re making stuff from scratch here, everything’s locally sourced,” Atkins said. “You can really tell the difference when you eat here.”
As business continues, they have plans to expand by adding locally sourced craft beers to the menu, a beer garden, more furnishing in the back yard and a live music venue.
“It’s not just about the brisket or just about the sausage,” DeLong said. “It’s about everything. It’s the whole package.”
Despite its already remote location, Oakwood BBQ was built under the radar without self-advertising. It’s the customers who give it a voice through reviews and continuous support.
“They’re just really good people, man. They’re just really excited for us to be here,” DeLong said. “It’s something different. They don’t want to drive all the way to Lockhart, they don’t want to stand in a line for days at Franklin’s. They’re just happy in a place that feels at home to them.”
- Business Hours: 11 a.m.–11 a.m.
- Location: 307 E Braker Ln., Austin, TX, 78753