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Restaurants / Openings

New Healthy Barbecue Restaurant is Already a Runaway Hit in Greenway Plaza

Houston’s Hottest Barbecue Joint Can Be Found in a Food Court Thanks to Husband-Wife Team

BY // 03.26.18
photography Robert Jacob Lerma

Feges BBQ is as individual as it gets, but it keeps selling out — of its smoked meats, that is. The new cafeteria-style barbecue haven in the Greenway Plaza food court officially opened last Thursday to long lines. Since then, Feges has been selling off all of its food before 3 pm even rolls around. There’s already a rapidly growing roster of regulars, owners Patrick Feges and Erin Smith tell PaperCity. 

Feges and Smith each have extensive backgrounds in the Houston hospitality biz. Smith is the former culinary director of hospitality group Clumsy Butcher with a Chopped win under her belt.

Feges’ prime meats pedigree includes spots like Underbelly, Killen’s Barbecue and Southern Goods. “Erin married into barbecue,” Feges laughs.

The barbecue joint is an early hit not only for its Texas barbecue salt-and-pepper rub and its North Carolina-style vinegar mustard sauce. The spot’s focus goes beyond pleasing the populace ready to tear into some ribs. It’s the marriage of two restaurant perspectives from the husband-and-wife team behind Feges BBQ. It simply doesn’t treat its sides as a side piece. Instead, inventive sides are given the respect they’re due.

“A few people in the line coined the phrase ‘Healthy barbecue,’ ” Smith says. “It’s an unconventional thing we’ve created.”

Think roasted rainbow baby carrots with Moroccan spices like turmeric, cumin and curry powder. Anyone looking for cole slaw should give Feges’s updated, healthier version a shot: slaw with yogurt instead of mayonnaise, whole coriander, cumin and Carraway seeds bloomed whole, inspired by Indian cuisine. Barbecue devotees can even opt to enjoy three veggie sides in lieu of a plate heaping with carnivore’s picks.

Feges couple
Patrick Feges and Erin Smith have Houston hospitality backgrounds that stretch way back.

The owners’ backgrounds led them from established restaurants to years of citywide pop-ups and now to their own cafeteria-style restaurant in Greenway Plaza. “Finally, after six years I’m able to cook the barbecue I know I can cook, without any limitations,” Feges says.

Pop-ups and catering spread the word about their mouth-watering meats, but they did not allow for everything. “Now we have a kitchen and this giant smoker I have yet to fill up,” Feges says.

It’s not Texas barbecue, per se. “People still want to eat brisket,” Feges says, but you can also expect a lot of Asian marinades and whole hog like you’d see in North Carolina at Feges BBQ. The boudin he’s cooking up at Feges just might be the best he’s ever had. “And it’ some of the best brisket I’ve ever cooked,” Feges says.

They also smoke a lot of chicken for a healthier option, especially for those who may have dietary restrictions.

Breakfast Barbecue

Weekly specials are on the horizon — composed dishes, pairing elevated sides with coordinating, inventive meats. Green papaya salad with ribs smoked and glazed with peanut sauce made an appearance at pop-ups. Summer could well bring Asian cucumber salad and smoked beef ribs marinated in Bulgogi.

Another little something special is on its way, but it’ll be offered everyday.

“There’s a huge demand for breakfast in the building,” Smith says. Barbecue breakfast tacos will be on the menu, along with biscuits and gravy and a traditional spread of bagels and cream cheese. But it’s likely foodies will only have eyes for Cowboy Casserole. Smith has perfected the casserole over the last few Christmases.

“It’s kind of like a savory bread pudding for breakfast” crossed with quiche, Smith says.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to Feges’ fillings. Sausage, kale, brisket, pulled pork carrots…. “It’ll really stick to your ribs. Get it in the morning, and it’ll hold you until breakfast,” Smith says. Out of 24 daily Cowboy Casseroles, six or so will be traditionally vegetarian.

Their setup allows for instant feedback, Feges says. “It’s our first time cafeteria-style,” Smith adds. “We get to interact with every guest. It’s a uniquely engaging experience.”

The long lines sure seem like a smoke signal that this barbecue spot is doing well.

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