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La Feria Restauranteur Opens BBQ Joint Inside Historical Building

A look inside Texas BBQ & Watering Hole in Harlingen. Photos: Tony Vindell/LFN

by Tony Vindell/LFN

The historic Rainbow Bread Baking Co. building in Harlingen now offers Central Texas-styled barbecue.

Eduardo Casas, owner of JC Wings in La Feria and co-owner of a second alitas de pollo restaurant in San Benito, decided to rescue the decades old building by opening an eatery called Texas BBQ & Watering Hole on West Harrison Avenue.

He said the restaurant opened in January of this year, or about a year and a half after he started selling BBQ from a shack down the street from there.

“A building kind of dictates what kind of business you can go into,” Casas said. ‘I have been interested in opening something different and when the opportunity came up, I took it.”

He said a friend of his told him about the old bakery building, saying a mechanic shop was going in.

“What a shame!’ he told himself. “I told him I could open a BBQ place.”

And so it was.

Today, the large building still has paintings depicting parts of Harlingen history.

Among them include a mural of the 1993 Bird Bowl, Harlingen Cardinals, the old HEB Food Stores, an old Coca Cola sign and a mural boasting this central location of town as being the capital city of the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

Casas said business has been going good so far, despite the ups and downs known in the restaurant industry. High employee turnover is one, for example.

Pitmaster Gabriel Rodriguez prepares and order of brisket plate placed by a costumer.

He said he decided to open this business because Central Texas-styled BBQ is unique from other types of cooking.

An average of 2,000 pounds of brisket, chicken, ribs and turkey are cooked on a good day on two large pits.

Customers such as Lucia Montalbano said they love the food.

“I got a little bit of everything,” she said. “The meat is juicy, not dry. Is really good.”

Casas attributes his success to the first restaurant he opened.

“JC Wings in La Feria set the foundation for the other businesses we have today,” he said. “It was in 2011 when we opened the restaurant there and people have been responding ever since.”

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One Response to La Feria Restauranteur Opens BBQ Joint Inside Historical Building

  1. Ed De Leon Reply

    May 22, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    Hello all, I recently was part of a group sent for training up in Plano Tx. I was going to allow the owners to pay for the flight but decided to make the drive instead. While in the Round rock area, we had the pleasure of stopping by The Salt lick bbq Restaurant. Great location, smell and atmosphere for picture taking. Although I found the brisket and ribs to be somewhat overwhelmed with spices, I could hardly taste the meat. Left unsatisfied. After the 1st week of training I took my wife out to old Plano where we found some excellent antique shops and a meat smokehouse.The Name “Lockhart SmokeHouse” The old style bbq and bar made it a very pleasant stay, the Brisket, sausage and smoked chicken were exceptional! Now here back in the Valley I’ve been to a quite number of Smokehouses,Steakhouses and Cattlecompanies. But this Smokehouse is different, different in a genuine Family way. You know the kind, when you get invited by family, close friends that are like family. Where everything is prepared and THEY CANT WAIT FOR YOU TO TRY THE MEAT! Why? Because they’ve prepared it just right. Not overpowering the meats with spices. Watching the juices flow and the tenderness of the Brisket is more than satisfying surrounded by a South Texas charm only we know. To the employees and owners(Eduardo Casas) I say THANK YOU
    For making your place,restaurant,home our place! The Smoke! THE PLACE TO BE!

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