There’s a note with a phone number on the door of Pinkerton’s Barbecue in Houston. It’s addressed to all Hurricane Harvey and flood rescue workers who might show up in the middle of the night.
“We live right above the restaurant,” owner Grant Pinkerton explains. “The note says, call this number and we’ll come down and cook for you.”
The Texas barbecue community has certainly stepped up to the challenge of helping the state’s residents recover from the unprecedented storm.
From donating a share of proceeds, such as Cattleack Barbeque in Dallas, to collecting donated goods, like Freedmen’s in Austin, to serving workers and donating money like Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland, many, many joints across the state are involved.
One of the most involved is Pinkerton’s, located a couple miles north of Buffalo Bayou Park, not far from downtown Houston.
In a telephone interview Thursday, Pinkerton estimated that his place had served at least 3,000 rescue workers and other people since the storm hit.
“Sunday alone, it was 1,000 for sure,” he said, pointing out that the water was still rising at the time.
“Water was coming in through the ceiling,” Pinkerton said. “We had a tent up outside so we could cut wood.”
The splitter was on a table and about six inches of standing water was on the ground.
In the first few days of the storm, Pinkerton said, his joint had “pretty much cooked through” the food in its walk-in cooler. He said he “raided” a home freezer for venison left over from a deer hunt so he could make venison chili.
On Tuesday, Pinkerton said, his place served about 950 Houston police officers, 50 National Guard members and three dozen or so constables.
Some suppliers, like Creekstone Farms and LaBatt Food Service, have been generous with provisions during the crisis, he said.
The restaurant has just started to receive again its regular food supplies and Pinkerton said he plans to begin “normal operations with a slightly limited menu” on Saturday.
“I’ve never personally witnessed any group of people come together like this to help out,” Pinkerton said of the rescue efforts. “Everybody put everything aside to help somebody else.”