Restaurants / Bars

Beloved Houston Honky-Tonk Bar Looks Even Better After a Revamp

More Music, Cool Railcar Bar Herald New Era

BY Laurann Claridge // 06.12.17
photography Jody Horton

It’s a Goode time to celebrate 40 years making legendary barbecue, serving fresh Gulf seafood, and spicing it up with home-grown Tex-Mex fare. Levi Goode, the progeny of Goode Co.’s late founder, barbecue pit master Jim Goode, keeps alive the patriarch’s vision of Southern hospitality doused with great music and a hell of a lot of fun.

I still remember Jim Goode walking into a room with the aroma of mesquite smoke trailing behind him. This talented man tended to his slow-cooking briskets and ribs at all hours with loving care. On the eve of Goode Co.’s 40th anniversary, the family recently unveiled — after four laborious years — the refashioned Armadillo Palace on Kirby, where their other three concepts (Goode Co. BBQ, Goode Co. Taqueria, and Goode Co. Seafood) showcase their greatest menu hits.

Now more than 15,000 square feet inside and out, this Texas ranch house has a new dance hall, rambling backyard space with a circa-1968 Airstream bar, and three music stages (one outdoors, two inside). Also new is the Orange Blossom Bar, a whiskey bar housed in an old railcar. The name is an homage to fiddler Leon “Pappy” Selph’s song about The Orange Blossom Special, a train that traveled from New York to Miami. It’s rumored that Selph played for years at the Goode BBQ joint just across the street in exchange for a brown-bagged bottle of Jim Beam.

Armadillo Palace’s down-home menu includes memorable dishes such as Campechana Extra, the often imitated but never surpassed Mexican-style seafood cocktail; the Damn Goode Burger, a half-pound house-ground blend of meats; Hill Country venison chili; redfish on the half shell; local Gulf redfish cooked in its skin, campfire style; and the remarkable Heritage pig’s-head carnitas, half a milk-fed pig’s head braised for hours, the skin singed to a crisp before plating.

Goode Co. concepts have always been the place to take people on their first visit to Houston. Now when you can’t decide between barbecue, seafood, or Tex-Mex, you can take them to Armadillo Palace, the honky-tonk with food to rave about and live-music venues that might inspire you kick up your heels. Or, just kick back and take it all in.

Armadillo Palace, 5015 Kirby Dr., 713.526.9700.

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