East Downtown Houston is heating this season with the opening of the new craft meat maker, bar, and beer garden, J-Bar-M Barbecue on 2201 Leeland Houston. [Featured image: @bookhausmeatco]
Owned by 93-year-old retiree and barbecue enthusiast, John Toomey, J-Bar-M opened this past year in East Downtown as an equally refined, equally traditional addition to Houston’s historical barbecue scene.
Its moniker is an homage to the Texas branding iron – as well as owner, John Toomey, and his late wife, Michelene Guseman Toomey. Whereas its design, opening with an immaculate, cathedral-like glass wall, is fitted with suspended orbs of light, floating amongst animal mounts, an interplay of wood and metal, and pitched ceilings.
Other interior design features include a functional fireplace, an indoor/outdoor bar, as well as a private dining room equipped with personal patio space.
Outside, J-Bar-M offers a lawn-plated, 254-seat patio complete with a stage for live music, and a sweeping view of Houston’s downtown skyline.
Pitmaster, Willow Villarreal, is behind the ones and twos of the smoker. Villarreal formerly operated the widely renowned Willow’s Texas BBQ food truck parked outside Shady Acres Saloon until he was ultimately forced to shutter it. Equipped with six smokers – four offset barrel, two direct-heat – at J-Bar-M, Villarreal can cook up enough briskets at once to feed an army.
The menu consists of barbecue classics, ranging from pork ribs, sausage, and turkey, to prime brisket, with no shortage of sides. The latter includes cream corn, mac and cheese, bacon-laded green beans, charro beans, and much more.
For desserts, patrons can smitten their sweet teeth with chocolate ganache pie, banana pudding, as well as a honey peach cobbler.
J-Bar-M is now up and running at 2201 Leeland, open on afternoons Thursdays to Sundays from 11 am to 3 pm.