Travis Dickey opened Dickey's Barbecue Pit in 1941. To keep things simple but delicious in the early days, he created a minimalistic menu with only seven items such as beef brisket and bottled milk. By the time the '60s rolled up in a Volkswagen van, Dickey's two sons had grown up and taken over the enterprise. Using their father's hickory-smoked recipes, they expanded the business from a single restaurant to a franchise. To this day, each location uses the same tried-and-true barbecue techniques employed by the founder all those years ago. From the original seven items, the menu has grown to include spicy cheddar sausage and complimentary ice cream as well as sides such as macaroni and cheese and jalapeño beans.
A hunk of brisket at VooDoo BBQ & Grill begins its journey suspended over a bed of pecan and oak logs. Coated in a dry rub of local spices, the meat slowly turns on a rotisserie rod for up to 16 hours, its skin crisping while the inside stays a warm pink. The chefs smoke all their beef brisket and pulled pork over logs from Louisiana-based trees to lend them the region's unique smoked flavor, even at the risk of confusing passing botanists. They lightly coat grilled sausages, chicken, and burgers in three signature sauces inspired by the state's Cajun recipes. To complement their menagerie of smoked and grilled meats, they sling a variety of southern sides such as corn pudding, greens, and potato salads. At each of the 13 locations, the aroma of roasting meat fills a space of dark-stained wood and wrought iron; dining rooms awash in a palette of reds, greens, and oranges buzz with the sounds of jazz and blues.
Rounding out 15 months in the sports-bar scene, JT's Sportsgrille's menu entertains appetites with an ensemble of classic American dishes served in a family-friendly establishment. Dining duos can practice synchronized eating routines while digging into a starter of bottle caps—breaded and flash-fried jalapeños—or chowing down on avocado dip that, like a gambler in the desert, arrives at tables with hot chips. Pairs can snatch up an entree of 10 crispy wings dipped in one of 18 sauces, including italian, lemon-pepper, or jamaican, or bite into a third-pound Angus burger bejeweled with a customizable cavalcade of onions, cheeses, and mushrooms. The menu’s Big Dawg section (not valid during lunch) boasts a savory assortment of sweet and salty entrees, including shrimp tacos, sprinkled with cheddar and pico, and french toast that tickles taste buds with powered sugar, bacon, and witty anecdotes.
Though big cities tend to offer a lot of activities for residents, the sheer volume of options can sometimes make it overwhelming to find something fitting. For residents of Austin, the Austin Clan of Everything Social (ACES) makes it easy to find a good time no matter your speed, with social leagues at watering holes and bowling alleys throughout town. On any given night, participants might gather to blow away their highest ping-pong score or grab a mic during a karaoke battle to show off their high note that only dogs can hear. Over the course of a season, members make new friends, bolstering the ACES community while battling for glory with their teammates.