The Leftovers at Phil’s Texas Barbecue

THE LEFTOVERS AT PHIL’S TEXAS BARBECUE Katharine Shilcutt at the Houston Press confirms what readers have been telling us: that Phil’s Texas Barbecue closed for good on Tuesday, leaving behind a large and now-vacant BBQ-and-picnic-style spread at the intersection of Heights Blvd. and Washington Ave. Former energy executive Phil Stephenson did manage to leave the corner a fair bit cleaner than the way he found it: Carving a 7,000-sq.-ft. restaurant space out of the former Southwest Muffler and Brake building took 9 months. Phil’s opened last June. [Eating Our Words, via Twitter; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Houston Foodie

58 Comment

  • I will miss the cheese grits.

  • This place was terrible, with an even worse location.

  • Cheese grits are really easy to make at home.
    Go for the baked version.

  • The demise of Washington continues, expect more of this. The place was decent and the owner tried hard. The grits and mac were good though, too bad.

  • This was supposed to be a BBQ place, not a grits and mac place. The BBQ was subpar and I’m not supprised at all that they closed. I won’t miss the place at all.

  • Their food sucked. Period. With Hickory nearby and resurgence of quality at Beavers especially their speakeasy food trucks Mondays, Phil could not compete on quality. I live in the area and nobody that I know in the area liked their food.

  • Looks like there will be another ice house opening soon…..

  • Valet parking when I went killed it for me. I hate valet parking.

  • this place was great. i gave my leftovers to mister johnson once. IMHO it was waaay better than Pizz BBQ on Shepherd. besides, he just wants to take fisting size bites.

  • What are you people talking about? Hickory is straight boiled meat garbage. While Phil’s was a little different, it was pretty damn good. The pecan choco pie was just over the top good. The pork, brisket and chicken were always great. Tough business.

    Jan who worked at the door was always a nice man, as was Tom Ed the chief cook.

    The layout was a bit strange and it was a little too nice for a bbq place. It looked more well suited for a lemon party or an ice house. Oh well.

    i will miss the Phils.


  • The layout was terrible, the bbq was ok, and they put way too much money into that place. I went there a few times and like it, but was never blown off my feet. I just think it wasn’t executed all that well, but what do I know? Hopefully something else can open there soon.

  • I only went once, and the BBQ was not worth a repeat visit.

  • Anyone who closes a restaurant less than 12 months after opening frankly wasn’t that serious about it in the first place. Its a rare venture that rakes it in right after opening and anyone who was actually serious about the industry would have known that before getting into it.

  • The Bullbutter Bros have brought their take on Texas barbecue to Washington Avenue and wish all local enterprises good will and success. Wed-Sun next to Laurenzo’s. Open till 3am on the weekends. We aim to please.

  • Perfect location for a Whataburger – like it should have been all along.

  • The owner, whose childhood dream was to own a BBQ restaurant, must have found it difficult to oversee quality from his tropical island home on St. Maarten. (See Houston Chronicle article 9/24/10 “From Harvard Law to Brisket and Slaw” if you think I’m making this up.) I’m all for people living their dream, but I also know that it usually helps to live in the same town as your dream if you really want to make it work. Especially if your dream is a restaurant. I appreciate him for investing in such great infrastructure, and hope someone else has a dream for this spot that doesn’t involve bottle service.

  • I think Phil’s was a tax write-off from the beginning.

  • Looks like I will be checking out Bullbutter Bros. soon.

  • I know a lot of people hate chain restaurants (and I hate a lot of them) but I think you have higher chance of getting food quality and consistency from a major chain than a local establishment. I know exactly what food will taste like at any Chili’s or Escalante’s for example but single locations have been about 60% bad experience for me. There’s a very high chance of getting improperly cooked food or even higher chance it just doesn’t taste that good (despite what the owner may think).

  • The food was serviceable with some high points. I gave them credit for actually having live music in the bar rather than the opting for the Dj/House crap that pervades most of the Washington Ave Strip.

  • i actually enjoyed the place, the BBQ wasn’t necessarily the best, but it wasn’t bad either, and their cheese grits were really good. But again, Houston to be in Texas really has bad BBQ all around IMO.

  • Phil’s did not have particularly good food, but that is a GREAT location considering what’s been happening on Washington over the last 18 months. Wonder what would happen if a user like Rudy’s BBQ took the space over….

  • Goode Co. is some good chain-restaurant BBQs.

  • This would be an excellent locale for Goode Company Barbeque or Seafood.

  • Great location, beautiful build-out, fantastic layout… subpar food. Hopefully someone will get in there with a family friendly BBQ restaurant. Caswell, care to jump into the meat smoking business, or are you all talk (show host)?

  • I vote for ice house! Waugh is the new strip! On the north end starting with this yet to be determined ice house (100 beers on tap, yes please!) – then continue south to reach, Vue, Guava Lamp, Cha, the new Mandola restaurant, and the Tavern! Oh wait.

  • Phil’s will be available For Lease starting next week “as is”.

  • i went to phil’s twice. once I try their bbq and the other to take a shit on the way to another place. the clean bathrooms was all it had going for it.

  • Did anyone here try the choco pecan pie? Anyways, hopefully a serious operator will move into this bitch and provide some great BBQ. Any of ya’ll seen that movie where Tom Cruise plays the Hitler? Reason I ask is because the bar tender at Phil’s reminded me of Tom Cruise. Thanks

  • Wish Luling market could take over that space.

  • Right miss_msry but would the folks in Houston really ‘like’ sweating in the pit cooking room while ordering their food?

    We haven’t been to eat in Luling in quite a while but I’m guessing that nothing has changed there. It’s still hot in the ‘pit’ and a bit messy trying to eat with plastic but seriously good barbeque!

  • Went there once. Food was horrible. Any place that serves chopped beef with an ice cream scoop won’t get my vote. I thought the douchecrowd would keep them open and successful though…am really surprised to hear they shut down. Seemed busy enough based on the parking lot attendance, but it wasn’t my thing.

  • Never been there. Nice looking place though. Too nice for a BBQ restaurant. The best places that serve BBQ are not fancy, just joints. Nice BBQ restaurant just don’t sound right.

  • Mambo’s. We need a Mambo’s in this neighborhood. Mmmmm… seviche….

  • To tanith27: the phrase “douchebags on Washington” is WAY overused. Move on from it. Besides, the “db’s” on Washington have nothing in common w/ BBQ.

    I didn’t like the food either. And the valet was silly. However, I see no one has said a peep about El Real’s valet service…being in the “in” club helps keep the critics at bay. I know it can be hard to park, but I drove up most of the lot was empty, yet valet…

  • Yeah we’ve all moved on to call it douchington avenue, anyway.. The place was an aircraft hanger, some of the worst food, subpar pitiful excuse for BBQ, and someone says it’s better than Pizzatolas?!? That’s insane, there is a reason that place has been open 75+ years, where as Phik’s sucked. The owner promised on to refund anyones money who went when it first opened and got terrible food, went so far as to ask for an address etc, and guess what never came the promised check. Ah well no real loss, and prime location for something that may actually make use of that space.

  • aw now look. some people say the peeple have voted. i say naw naw. pizz will cost u 25 a man for lunch with no rub off. let me know

  • Nothing will survive in that restaurant, it’s a dead zone.

  • Have to weigh in and say I did not like the bbq either. Sides were okay but like others have said, a BBQ place should be a dump/joint etc…..My vote would be a decent breakfast type place-that seems to be lacking or possibly an american bistro type bar/grill.

  • Another option that is lacking in this area is an upscale titter. They’d print money.

  • BoarCoon@40:

    Yes! There certainly are not enough titty parlors within a 10 minute drive of The Heights. Would this fall within the zoning laws? Oh, wait, this is Houston so there are no zoning laws. Titty ho!



  • I agree with Corey. The food was MUCH better than Pizzitola and service was quicker. However, the ribs at Pizz are a little better IMHO. However, like my boy Corey be spittin’, Phils had great atmosphere and the two meat plate was excellent. Plus, no fishing/fistin’ charge.

  • My Bro. Beauregard is just too much a gentleman to say what needs to be said.
    Phils’ Sucked!! PizzBBQ has Pork Rib$$$$$$,
    and Bri$$$ket. Hickory Hollow is great for
    visitors. Beavers is like French BBQ. Goode awesome, but on the other side of the tracks.
    The best Barbeque this side of Lockhart is
    served with the love of Texas tradition out of the mobile “Bullbutter Bros. Barbeque” on
    Washington Ave. Lunch Wednesday-Saturday. Open till the wee hours on the weekend.

  • I will really will miss this place. Lost 15 lbs eating there. They should have advertized it as a weight loss center, because you sure as hell couldn’t choke down enough of that crap to maintain wt.

  • Maybe Rajun Cajun could open a branch there.

  • I think Rajun Cajun would to well there. The lack of a curb cut/access onto washington is a big problem. Plus, for such a big lot, ther really isn’t enough parking.

    I don’t think i’ve read one positive review on this site, but that place was slammin at lunch, so what’s up?

    Let me know

  • Yeah Ragin Cajun could sell their overpriced crawfish and the D Bags on Washington would eat it up.

  • Kev, I’ve eaten at Bullbuttons and it is actually pretty good. There sauce tastes very gamey (like iron), but the meat is tender as all get out Granted, it was at 1:30 am on a wednesday and my and my bro’s had just polished of a few bottles of grey goose at this really hip upscale place.

  • Phils – saw the writing on the wall after 1st visit. BBQ in warmers on buffet line. Garbage.

    Ragin Cajun – would piss off most of us in the heights from S. LA. There food is weak and I wouldn’t feed it to my dog. There crawfish is terrible. Would love to see a DRIVE THROUGH DAQUIRI SHOP!!! (yes, I know they are not allowed in Texas)

  • Agreed with comments on Ragin Cajun – I haven’t been back since they put ketchup on my shrimp po-boy. WHO DOES THAT.

  • Drive through daquiri is legal, you just have to drive to Klein (louetta near stuebner airline). Sealed straws (lol).. I will pay for good BBQ, and yeah growing up in Texas and aside from County Line all good BBQ places look like the inside of the average 1970’s doublewide, and I’m ok with that. I find Hickory Hollow generic, doesn’t compare to the other locations (near the horse track NW/Houston is way better). Phil’s was awful, good riddance.

  • Phils didnt fail because of the food. (I liked it and so did plenty of others…but that really doesnt matter…bbq is a very personal issue in texas…highly individual!) However the owner sank WAY too much $$ into both the purchase price AND the improvements. There was no way it would work financially. However the owner now has PRIME real estate on a great corner with a brand new building ready to go for any restaurant use…not just barbecue my friends! (what??? yes!) There were some big high-end restaurant players eyeing this site before it sold. Wouldnt be surprised if they come sniffing around again as most of them prefer to lease their locations and not own them. Looking forward to see what’s next!

  • Too bad! Had a nice lunch out on the patio with the missus last month. Decent BBQ and nice staff.

  • They need to start sellin them Coon Dick toothpicks in this spot. They’d make a killin!

  • My friend Lindstrom ate there every day and he tells me it is terrible.

  • I hate to sound like a grumpy old man,but I feel like all the new development in the first ward/ first ward arts district is being done by developers and investors who have no real interest in the history of the neighborhood that they have chosen to revitalize. I have been a business owner in this area for over 25 years. The hike/n/bike on Spring St. has prevented me from expanding my operations. The townhouse development has made my property taxes go up. So if a BBQ joint fails, so it goes…