Before Interstate 35 forever changed traffic patterns in San Antonio, there was the Bun-N-Barrel. It opened its doors one bright morning in 1950 along one of the main drags — old Austin Highway — a few blocks from where I now live. It once comprised three restaurants: the more famous Bun-N-Barrel (a classic drive-in for burgers, fries and shakes), a walk-up and take-out barbecue pit in the back, and the Terrace steakhouse a few yards uphill. Supposedly in the 50's John Wayne and the cast and crew of The Alamo were regulars. The drive-in is an apropos meeting place ("Honk for Curb Service") for folks who painstakingly restore classic automobiles.
Out in the barbecue pit, they use the original pair of firebrick pits to cook and smoke their barbecue using Texas hill country oak. For 65¢ per pound ("10¢ per pound extra for whole pigs, boar, or large game fish"), they'll take whatever game you've killed and cook it for you.
An hour ago I was heading home to get some work done at my home workstation, and for some reason I felt the lure of the barbecue pit. It has been years since I'd been around back and wasn't sure it was still open. Sure enough, Joe and Josie were behind the counter, the industrial plastic container was filled with sweet tea, and I was able to get a chopped BBQ sandwich replete with fries, dill pickles and onion slices in no time. Inside, it smells like the real deal, and it thankfully the decor hasn't changed much since opening day.
The iPhone seemed anachronistic to unsheathe in this joint, but I captured a few images on my way back out to the car (click thumbnails for larger images):