Gatlin’s BBQ new location
3510 Ella Blvd, 77018
http://gatlinsbbq.com/ (Website currently lists the old address)
Greg Gatlin and family recently opened their new location at 3510 Ella Blvd., a large new and somewhat sterile location for their heralded barbecue. The original location on West 19th street was famous for quality barbecue, long lines, and a tiny location. While it was not a trailer, the 700 square foot house hosted a few tables inside that were often crowded by the line of customers with a covered patio outside that offered some relief but exposed customers to the Houston weather.
Leslye and I rolled up about 15 minutes before opening and jumped into line behind about 20 people. Not too bad for a new location of a well-known joint. The first thing I noticed when peeking through the windows was how large the interior was, a large main dining area and a smaller one to the side were contained in the footprint of over 4,000 square feet.
Around 40 people had lined up by the expected 11am opening but while we could smell the smoke wafting in from behind the building, the doors didn’t budge. It was after 11:15 and nearly 60 people in line by the time the doors finally swung open.
The line moved a bit slowly but we placed our order after about 20 minutes and sat at a table. Then we waited. It was a full 25 minutes after placing our order before we received our plate. We hadn’t ordered anything complicated, a meat plate with brisket, ribs, and two sides as well as a pound of deer sausage. They also accidentally brought us out two more sides. Other diners also had a similar wait. I gave a lot of leeway when visiting the old location due to the small kitchen, but am perplexed why it takes so long after ordering to receive the food. The kitchen looked to be bustling and moving but orders just weren’t being cranked out. I understand a wait to place an order, but combined with the wait to receive after ordering, I felt like things were too clumsy.There were new staff and I’ll give some credit for the new location but am hoping that they will become more efficient with time; it would be extremely difficult for someone to eat here during a one hour lunch break.
Onto the food, the brisket was as good as I recall from the original location, and the ribs were delicious. The dirty rice is highly recommended and I wolfed it down. The deer sausage though didn’t seem quite right; it was very light in taste and tasted to me like the regular sausage. It is possible this is due to a change in sources, the deer sausage was previously sourced through B&W Meat Co. but as with Jackson Street BBQ, a sign for Ruffino Meats indicated a switch of purveyor. The taste of the sausage was fine it just wasn’t the same flavor that I remembered from the original location.
There was one other touch that was nice but unexpected for a barbecue joint. The food was served on nice plates, with linen napkins and silverware. It made for a nicer dining experience than the more common Styrofoam and plastic ware but I’d gladly trade it for a shorter wait which I think will be rectified as they settle in.