Editors note: This BBQ joint s now closed.
The first of Oak Cliff's three new BBQ joints, Papa Joe's Backyard BBQ, opened today with an 11am ribbon cutting. Friends and family were on hand to see Lee and Beverly Alvarez's two-year labor of love come to life. Lockhart Smokehouse, located in the Bishop Arts district, will open next Wednesday. Luckie's Smokehouse BBQ, located at 1300 W. Davis across from the Kessler Theater, is also opening very soon.
Papa Joe's is located in Oak Cliff's Elmwood neighborhood, near Edgefield and Illinois Aves. and also close to the Alvarez's home. The restaurant is located in a former daycare center that was bought and completely redone by Beverly's dad over the past two years. The result is a bright and vibrant new restaurant they hope becomes a community favorite in the neighborhood.
The "Joe" in Papa Joe's is named after Lee's dad, Joe Alvarez, who was the head chef at the Dallas Petroleum Club for 30 years. Many old family recipes are at play here. Both Lee and Beverly are running the restaurant with help from Lee's bother and their twin 9-year-old sons Ryan and Richard. They also have a younger daughter Anora, who was running around between the dining room and outside playground.
The joint also features a large "backyard" with plenty of outdoor chairs, tables and fire pits, making it a great place to spend the evening. Think marshmallows roasting and ice cold beverages. The backyard also has a large outdoor playground for the kids, making it DFW's top kid-friendly BBQ joint by far.
On to the meats, Papa Joe's is serving brisket, chicken, ribs and sausage, along with numerous sides and deserts. He is using pecan wood and a smaller smoker until is big pit arrives. We tried the brisket and chicken. The meat was well cooked and seasoned, tender but a little light on the smoke. Lee says this will be taken care of when he starts using his big smoker. The three homemade sauces were excellent: original, sweet and brisket sauce versions.
Posse member Bryan Gooding also went to Joe's on their first day and writes on his Facebook page, "Papa Joe's grand opening today. Was under the radar for the last month. Commercial smoker using pecan wood. Brisket had small smoke ring and very little flavor (roast beefy). Ribs were a bit better. Star was the jalapeno cheese sausage + mac & cheese and their beans were good. Let's watch this place. Nice neighborhood kind of place and totally kid friendly."
Bryan adds, "I applaud their use of pecan (what oak is to the hill country, pecan is to Oak Cliff) and will possibly help reinforce the style of "Oak Cliff" BBQ. Their use of rub only lets "the meat speak for itself" as they spared the use of BBQ sauce on their meats. It's been a long road back from the days of Austin's BBQ and this helps signal an end to the drought of smoked meats in the OC. We can thank Smoke for that also."
Lee says, "We just wanted to open a place where our kids could play and we didn't have to worry about them.......and a place to enjoy a cold beer too!" Mission accomplished Lee and Beverly, good luck to Papa Joe's Backyard BBQ.
Click here to see Papa Joe's Facebook page. Their website with dining room and catering menus will be live next week: www.papajoesbackyardbbq.com.
Papa Joe's Backyard BBQ, 1233 Newport Ave, Dallas, 214-941-4092. Open Thurs 11am-7pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 11:30am -7pm.
Photos by Chris Wilkins