Stubbs BBQ 801 Red River St
A slow Southern brunch is one of the most decadent ways to start a Sunday. Iconic “hybrid music venue slash Bar-B-Q restaurant” Stubbs offers a gospel brunch over the weekends, starting at $16.95 per head for an all you can eat buffet. Needless to say, I was on the phone making a booking as soon as I discovered they had a DIY bloody mary station on offer.
Stubbs is a gorgeous venue appearing like something from a Western movie, so very Texan in look and feel. The facade is built from stone accented by wooden pillars. They also have a huge outdoor amphitheatre for larger gigs which was the venue of choice when Metallica played their not-so-secret-surprise show at South By Southwest in 2009. Stubbs have also managed to take their brand worldwide via their range of sauces and BBQ marinades, which you can now even buy in Australia.
A gospel band sets up on the smaller stage downstairs, and keeps the venue rockin’ throughout the brunch. You can pay a lil’ extra to grab a table with a view of the band, but I was happier just overhearing them and still being able to chat with my brunch buddies.
The build-your-own bloody mary ingredients are all laid out on the edge of the long bar. Your server brings you a tall glass with vodka and ice, then you head over to work your magic and tailor the drink to your requirement. Unlike Zax’s DIY bloody mary bar, Stubbs only offer the one variety of tomato juice, but have a larger range of hot sauces and various spices.
The food buffet is set up on the rear porch – bring sunglasses if you have a hangover, it’s bright out there. The selection is somewhat limited and displayed in a fairly underwhelming manner. Yes, it’s only a buffet, but there are ways you can make the food seem more like a smorgasbord and less like a dining hall at school camp.
Stubbs’ brunch is set apart by the inclusion of their BBQ in the buffet selection, with the brisket and sausage hand cut to order. Once again proving the point that anytime of day is appropriate for eating Texas BBQ brisket.
I loaded my plate up with biscuits, grits, brisket with BBQ sauce and a serve of fabulous Serrano cheese spinach enchiladas. The enchiladas were such an unexpected win, and reminded me of the greek spinach dish Spanikopita. I was pleasantly surprised with how perfectly it worked as a brunch dish, full of flavour without being too heavy for an 11am sitting.
Oh and, you may have noticed that a full quarter of my plate is taken up by bacon. Crispy, salty bacon. Are you kidding me? It’s an all you can eat bacon fest, the likes of which I hadn’t experienced since the gloriously gluttonous buffet at Caesars Palace. It would have been remiss of me to take any less.
Plus, I reserved a piece at the end to be eaten with the pecan pie. It goes with my mantra of “add bacon to ALL the things…”
Sadly, there is a bit of a “herd ’em in and get ’em out before the next seating” vibe which is particularly unfortunate for a meal that is supposed to be long and lazy. It’s a scramble to make it there for your booking time, line up to get, line up for the buffet and then hurry to finish as they clear for the next session. Final verdict? Great food but a little devoid of the atmosphere and pace that makes it a proper brunch.