New Otto’s Barbecue To Plant Restaurant and Catering Complex Where Luke’s Icehouse Bit the Dust on Durham

Coming soon to the block across Durham from W Grill, just south of Washington: Otto’s Barbecue & Catering. The 67-year-old chain has plans for its first standalone location since the original on Memorial Dr. was sold in 2009 (for less than its owners felt it should’ve been) and demolished to make way for a collection of strip buildings.

Until last November, Luke’s Icehouse (pictured above) was the only structure standing in the way of the planned new restaurant on the corner of Lillian St. and Durham — but after shuttering last June, its building was torn down 5 months later. The rendering above shows Otto’s taking over the site from the north above Durham, where a courtyard fronts a covered patio adjacent to a parking lot.

Inside, the site plan indicates that 3,293-sq.-ft. would be devoted to the restaurant, while 1,722 would make up an attached catering kitchen:


37 parking spots sit behind and beside the building. They’re only accessible from the 15-ft.-wide alley that cuts between the property and its northern neighbor, Cash America Pawn. Plans now call for that thoroughfare to be paved, as shown below at its entrance on Sandman St.:

This week, the city planning commission will consider a variance request to allow the catering kitchen and its adjacent pit room to move up just 5 ft. from Lillian St. That corner smokeshow features windows on all sides, giving passers-by a look in as “thousands of pounds of meat” are dealt with inside — according an estimation included in the developer’s plans.

It’s viewed below from Lillian:

A glance from the opposite direction, next to the parking lot:

One long look across the side lot from the corner of Sandman St.:

Renderings: Bowen Land Services

Smoke Signals

6 Comment

  • Houston has exploded with quality barbecue since Otto’s served its last George Bush Plate. I hope they’re ready to up their game.

  • there are a couple large new apartment buildings finishing up nearby so restaurants around there are about to get a little boost.

  • This area of town is experiencing some great infill development, and this project is yet another example it. Exciting to see this section of town grow.

  • While I am excited to see the brand resurrected, I still lament the loss of the old school Otto’s on Memorial.

  • Otto’s burgers were better than their barbecue.

  • I’m with Skeptic. Walked into the Otto’s BBQ in Stafford about a month ago, and the odor was so foul, I walked out. Could not imagine eating there.

    The last time I was at that location, the food was just ok. Wanted to give it another shot, but after that foul odor, I will not return. Ever.

    Will need some good reviews of new place before I give it a go.