When Leonard Broussard began making homemade links in Beaumont using a family recipe passed down from his uncle, he had no idea that it would result in a family barbecue business that would stand the test of time for three generations.
During the late 70s, Broussard got out of the business and ventured onto other things, but in 1993, with several area barbecue businesses closing in the Beaumont area, he saw an opportunity and reopened his doors for business. Broussard‘s desire was to only make homemade links, however, customer demand forced him to expand his offerings to include an assortment of meats, including ribs, chicken, sliced/chopped beef, boudin and pork neck bones.
The menu also expanded to include potato salad, rice dressing, barbecue beans and cole slaw. In April, Broussard‘s daughter, Kristi and son-in-law, Eugene Barnes, continued the family legacy with the opening of a barbecue restaurant in Houston. “The reason we opened this location is that so many people from the Golden Triangle who live here in Houston would travel to Beaumont to visit family, but would make sure they stopped in and got a dozen or so links to bring home because there was no where else to find them,” says Eugene Barnes.
Barne’s wife placed a post on her personal Facebook page announcing the opening and received an overwhelming response from past customers excited about the restaurant‘s arrival in the area.
Many expressed relief that they would no longer have to travel to Beaumont to purchase the restaurant‘s popular homemade links. Barnes attributes the demand for the link to its old-time homemade flavor.
“It is a really good recipe, it is an all beef, homemade link, I really can’t give you the ingredients to it, but it is has a real special taste to it,” shares Broussard.
In the three months since opening its doors locally, the restaurant has received a warm welcome in the community. A 1,500 sq. ft. restaurant located 8420 S. Sam Houston Parkway W. Ste. 260 in southwest Houston, the barbecue place offers a family friendly atmosphere, with a flat screen for customer entertainment and comfortable seating for up to 30.
From the barbecue aroma that greets customers at the door to the framed photos and news stories heralding the success of the family-owned business, the interest of customers is piqued to taste the barbecue the family has become known for.
The reason for the family‘s success is no secret to Broussard‘s daughter, Kristi, who grew up as personal taste tester of her father‘s homemade links.
“We ate links everyday for about six months growing up because our father would always make us taste the links to make sure they came out right,” shares Kristi Barnes.
She also helped make the links and had always aspired to one day carry on the family legacy.
“She had the dream for a while and shared it with me, so at this point we are trying to work it together,” says her husband Eugene Barnes. Barnes left his former career as a power lineman contractor behind to focus on carrying on the legacy of the family business.
“It was a pretty good job, with pretty good benefits and pay, but I decided to step out on faith, because this is something that can be a lot more beneficial to my family in the long run than what I was doing before and could really be a great thing for us,” says Barnes.
Driven to uphold the family legacy, Barnes is committed to living up to the expectations of what his father-in-law and wife‘s uncle before him established.
Rising at 6:30 a.m. each morning, Barnes has a single-minded focus and commitment to ensuring everything that goes out over the counter is exactly right.
“We have a customer base that expects a certain taste, certain level of customer service and certain level of quality and are hitting thetarget,” says Barnes.
Long hours and a full time commitment go into building on the family‘s successful brand.
“Every day I come here and put the love into everything we do. Every piece of meat that goes on the pit, I personally put my special touch on it. I make sure that quality is always the same,” says Barnes.
Barnes, and other cooks in the restaurant, take careful pains to slow cook the meats on the pit to ensure optimum flavor in the meats.
“The slower, the better, because if you try to rush anything with barbecue you are just leaving out taste,” says the Houston restaurantowner.
His goal is to make sure customers are completely satisfied when they walk out of the doors of the restaurant.
“We want to reach out to everyone to introduce them to the special flavor of our barbecue,” he says.
According to Barnes, each region of the country has its own unique style of barbecue and every restaurant adds their own touch.
“At Broussard’s, we do something different from most Texans in preparing our barbecue,” shares Barnes.
While most barbecue places use hickory or mesquite, which are woods that are more plentiful, Broussard’s uses a less plentiful wood that gives their ribs and other meats its unique twist on flavor, according to Barnes.
Barnes even coined his own name to describe the family’s barbecue.
“If you can compare Tex-Mex, a combination of Texas and Mexico, well what we have could be called “Lou-Tex, a combination of Louisiana and Texas. It is more of a Cajun style barbecue, instead of a traditional Texas style barbecue,” he says.
Broussard‘s Links Plus Ribs also offers custom-catering for special events of all sizes.
“Once someone calls us and tells us what they would like to have off of our menu and how many people they need to accommodate, we are going to put something together that is a lot more affordable than any other barbecue place in town,” says Barnes.
Not only is the couple helping to attract a new following of customers to their family’s barbecue business, they are making plans to mass produce the restaurant’s homemade links in the commercial market.
The plan is to package and market the links in grocery stores along with the family‘s homemade barbecue sauce.
“Right now we sell the barbecue sauce to customers over the counter,” says Barnes.
The couple is not resting on their laurels, but have plans to open additional restaurants in the area, including possible locations in Sugar Land, Pearland and Spring.
“Hopefully it becomes a fourth or fifth generation business once we mass produce the links and it becomes more of a corporate business, not just a family-owned restaurant,” says Barnes.
The couple‘s goal is to pass on and expand the family legacy to create future opportunities for his children, nephews, and nieces.