When Lockhart Smokehouse opened in Bishop Arts 10 years ago, husband and wife duo Jeff and Jill Bergus wanted to bring the taste of central Texas to Dallas-Fort Worth. Jill’s grandfather purchased Kreuz Market in Lockhart, TX in 1948, and since then, her grandfather, her father and the generations that followed have carried on the barbecue torch.
Jill grew up in Temple and Jeff grew up in DeSoto, and they both lived in New York City for a period of time. Jill was in television production and Jeff was in fashion, however, when the recession of 2008 hit, they sought out new careers and a way to come home to Texas.
“We were looking around and there was a new barbecue place that was Central Texas-inspired in New York City,” Jill says. “Dallas, at that time, didn't have a great barbecue destination. So we talked to my cousin who runs Kreuz Market now saying ‘Hey, how do we do this? What do we need to do?’ And he gave us some great insight, advice and training.”
Jill and Jeff dug the vibe of the Bishop Arts area and decided to set up their flagship there. Lockhart Smokehouse immediately became a hit within the neighborhood, with many calling it the best barbecue in Dallas within its first year.
Looking for another historic district to launch its counterpart, Jill and Jeff looked into several downtown neighborhoods. When Jeff discovered downtown Plano in 2014, he felt the same feelings that he felt in the Bishop Arts flagship, and loved the aesthetic of the neighborhood, as well as its walkability.
“It’s a destination neighborhood,” Jeff says of downtown Plano. “You can spend a lot of time here. We love historic districts”
Lockhart Smokehouse’s menu is chock-full of meats galore, including sausage, brisket, turkey, chicken, pork chops and ribs. Guests can also enjoy sides of southern fixings baked beans, mac and cheese, and signature items like their blue cheese slaw and brisket potato salad. At the table, guests unwrap what Jill calls a “meat present” from butcher paper and spread the fixins across the table, in true barbecue fashion.
While barbecue is very much revered in Texas, Jill and Jeff say many people come in saying it's their first time having barbecue. They enjoy bringing central Texas hospitality to the suburbs and have loved getting to know the Collin County community.
Even 10 years after their opening, Lockhart Smokehouse is consistently ranked among the top barbecue restaurants in Dallas-Fort Worth. With locations in Bishop Arts, Plano and Arlington, Lockhart serves several happy Texans, and is only continuing to grow.
Although other barbecue spots have opened in Dallas-Fort Worth since the Texas barbecue renaissance of the early 2010s (which Jill credits to chef Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue), Jeff says there is nothing but love for those who share the same passion for smoked meats, noting an unspoken “brotherhood in barbecue.”
“I think everybody started with the foundation of Texas barbecue, and then they put their own spin on top of that,” Jeff says. “Some people do tacos, some people do sandwiches, but you can't get off that Texas barbecue blueprint.”
“I think the craft just keeps growing,” Jill adds. “There are all kinds of new cool places I haven't even tried, but there are also great ideas on how to bridge different gaps in barbecue and make it even more Texan or authentic.”
Lockhart Smokehouse | 1026 E. 15th St., Plano.
Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
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