Moved here from Houston - a great bbq town - and so have pretty high expectations of any joint that serves smoked meats. And I've eaten at the local chains: most of them are all right...just not spectacular, in my book.
And then there's Bun'n'Barrel. While it looks like a run-down 'fifties or 'sixties drive-in from the road, the inside says "malt shop". There's a counter with drug-store swivel stools (where I normally sit) as well as traditional table seating. Decor is simple but pleasing. Music is "oldies" fare - mostly '60's girl bands, surf music and the like....and there's a big-screen TV (usually tuned to ball games) at the counter.
BnB's menu is small, consisting mostly of (what else?) barbecue, burgers and sides. The coleslaw and potato salad are pretty good....but I go there strictly for the beef and the ranch beans. The beef is smoky, succulent and tender; the beans are full of pepper and cumin - the perfect accompaniment to the bbq.
Service is also very good, and prices are very reasonable.
My only gripe - and this is for the entire local bbq community, not merely Bun'n'Barrel - is that one of my personal favorites, the barbecue-stuffed baked potato - doesn't grace the menu anywhere within easy driving distance.
In the meantime, I'll be content to devour a beef plate with beans, while listening to the Shirelles and watching my home team, the Texans, get the pants whupped off of them by nearly every other team in the league!
This Place Needs an Emergency Rennovation to Ditch the New Foo Foo Look. Bun N Barrell was classic BBQ old school in BBQ deficient San Antonio. It had the old time car hop look, so much so that it was where the old classic cars would come to hang out. It was old and comfortable, classic in every worn detail. The BBQ was the good kind from old honest to God BBQ pits that need people who know what they are doing to make things just right. The Limeaide alone was worth the trip across town. Something is dreadfully wrong at this old gem of a BBQ Joint, somebody has "redecorated" and has disrespected a true classic by turning it into some kind of foo foo mix between another cookie cutter starbucks and some late 1970's cheap rent chinese place. They have put cute little shutters on the windows, ditched the foutain drinks and even have fake neon TULIPS in some plasticified vase!!! Now, the place was due for a spruce up, but Great God Almighty, not by Buffy the Decorator!!!! No, No, No!!! An emergency correction of this San Antonio Landmark is necessary and necessary today! Old classic gems are not to be messed with. Restoration would be one thing, redecoration is highly offensive to this age old classic. The food is still good and you may eat it in visual peace in their catering building that was not subjected to Buffy Decorator hell.
Major disappointment. It seems that this restaurant didn't see any renovations or even a simple cleaning in many, many years. The table I was seated at was sticky and dirty, the entire dining area smelled of old dish towels, and the TV in the corner that was barely working just added to the dreadful picture. All of this might have been overlooked should the food be decent, but unfortunately that wasn't the case. I ordered a bbq plate with brisket. It arrived on a pathetic paper plate with 2 slices of cheapest white bread imaginable wrapped in plastic. The meat was undercooked and rubbery, although I must admit it had a nice smoky aroma to it (not strong enough to cover the stink of the table though). The fries were soggy, and the coleslaw was very runny. Ice tea was pretty bad too, especially considering the chipped and dirty glass it was served at. Maybe it was just a bad day to visit this place, but I drive buy it quite often, and judging by the look of empty tables trough the windows, these days are quite common. Look some where else for a decent barbecue.
Cheap eats and lots of meats are the theme..
Not exactly a trendy youth spot, this roadside stop serves a crowd that includes dusty cowboys from back when San Antonio had ranches just off Austin Highway. Behind the restaurant is the barbecue pit, and food at the Bun 'N' Barrel is straight-up Texas barbecue. Slide onto a counter stool or scoot into a booth to order slabs of ham, turkey, beef or pork served along with potato salad, pinto beans, slices of onions and pickles, and good ole white bread.
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