A morning trek through the Montopolis neighborhood of Southeast Austin yesterday brought a gut wrenching discovery.
Ray’s Barbecue has fallen.
In its stead is a muffler repair shop.
Flying under the radar for years until it became a set location for Friday Night Lights, Ray’s consistently put out some of the best brisket and smoked chicken in Austin, Texas. Sterling, a man mountain, ran the counter and made sure the guests were treated like family while Ray Williams, the patriarch, hustled the meats off the smoker out back.
Ray’s had a brief flirtation with the soul food crowd a few years back. Their Thursday blue plate was a sight to behold with giant platters of fried catfish, oxtails, collard greens, fried cabbage and a plenitude of other southern sides.
It’s hard news anytime a restaurant shutters and it’s made doubly hard when a non-restaurant replaces it. The build-out and permitting to get any type of food business off the ground in Austin is a staggering process so when we lose a structure that has all the requisite plumbing and electrics required of food service it’s a dark day in Travis County.