New BBQ restaurant with soulful touch opens on Fort Worth’s east side

A new grill restaurant will soon be on the east side of Fort Worth thanks to a chef who adds a soul-food touch to his food.

Called Smoke-A-Holics BBQIt will be on Evans Ave. in July. Opened in 1417 in a place where there was last a bakery and a pastry shop. The 1,000-square-meter restaurant will be cozy and seat a dozen people inside and a dozen on a terrace outside.

The restaurant will be the first brick and mortar business for Fort Worth-born owner Derrick Walker, who entered the grill business in 2006, hosting special events and pop-ups.

Last year he bought a food truck from the owners of Panther City BBQ and started parking on South Hulen Street over the weekend, where he quickly developed a following.

“After I got the food truck, it blew up,” says Walker. “At the same time, there was a paradigm shift towards barbecuing. It really started in Fort Worth. I turned away investors. I wanted to open my own place, my own way.”

Walker’s attitude towards grilling is refreshingly different from others. In addition to staple foods such as brisket, sausage, chicken and spare ribs, it also offers various items with a soul-food touch, including smoked oxtails with cheese semolina and smoked and smothered minced steak.

Side dishes include collard greens, candied yams, and cornbread with hot water.

Some items will be available on its regular menu; others are only offered as specials on Sundays. His hours are Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

He’ll also be selling most of the items available on his food truck, including traditional barbecue sandwiches, brisket nachos, and a signature dish called Big Macc, which consists of a pile of smoked mac & cheese with a chopped brisket, green onions and sausage and barbecue Sauce.

“If I had to coin a phrase for my food, I would call it ‘Tex Soul Food’,” he says. “There’s a lot of Texas in there, a lot of soul food and a lot of me.”

Meat is smoked in a 1000 gallon offset smoker over a mixture of pecan and mesquite.

Walker has spent most of his life in the food industry. For 18 years he worked for the Baylor Health Care System in Fort Worth as Executive Chef and Food Service Director.

He learned to grill from his grandfather. “When I was ten I was outside and learned from my grandpa how to season meat,” he says. “We had land in East Texas and we always had big family gatherings out there, big barbecues. That’s where I learned everything.”

The restaurant is about five minutes from Walker.

“I definitely feel like I’ve come full circle,” he says. “Opening a place just around the corner from where I grew up – that’s something special for me.”

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