A Meshack’s barbecue restaurant is opening in Plano, but it’s not the one you think

A restaurant with a well-known family name in Texas barbecue circles is opening its doors in Plano.

Meshack’s Texas BBQ opens near Central Market on the northeast corner of Coit Road and President George Bush Turnpike next month, but is not affiliated with Meshack’s Bar-B-Que Shack in Garland, the Texas barbecue called “old school” by Texas monthly BBQ Editor Daniel Vaughn.

This Meshack dates back to South Dallas in 1978 and is now run by Travis Mayes and his wife Donna Mayes, daughter of founder James Meshack. The new Meshack’s, however, is owned by Willie Meshack Jr., a nephew of the late James Meshack, and he clarifies that his restaurant, whose menu is heavily influenced by his wife’s Trinidadian roots, has nothing to do with barbecue. . place that has been in his family for decades.

“It’s very important to me not to infringe on what they’re doing, so I’m trying to do something totally different from what they’re doing,” he said. “I wanted to make a more artisanal barbecue.”

He uses his 21-foot-long smokehouse to serve beef brisket, jerk chicken, pork and beef ribs, and jerk-spiced pulled pork alongside Trinidadian-inspired sides prepared by his wife. Roberta Plaza and her mother Yolande Plaza, who also own and run the Caribbean Cabana at the Dallas Farmers Market.

Zoey’s Pulled Pork Sandwich with Apple Slaw is served on Trinidad Texas BBQ Fried Bread from Meshack in Plano, TX on Feb. 18, 2022. (Jason Janik/Special Contributor)(Jason Janik / Special Contributor)

But despite the differences on the menu, the name of the restaurant and the “Est. 1978″ in the restaurant’s branding causes some confusion among diners familiar with Garland’s longtime barbecue shack.

One Friday during the restaurant’s soft opening, a man walked in for lunch thinking a second Garland BBQ Restaurant location was coming to his Plano neighborhood. It wasn’t until he scrolled through Meshack’s Texas BBQ Instagram page as he waited for his two meat plate with fried okra and saw the bio that reads, “Not affiliated, associated, endorsed by or of any way it’s officially related to any other barbecue business” that he realized it wasn’t Meshack’s barbecue he’d eaten in the past.

Willie Meshack said he chose to put “Est. 1978” on his logo since that was the year his father, Willie Meshack Sr., opened Meshack’s Bar-B-Cue Shack with his brother James, but that is disputed by Travis and Donna Mayes, who say James Meshack opened and operated the original barbecue all by himself. Willie Meshack Sr. operated the family’s attached liquor store, they said.

Willie Meshack Jr. prepares Meshack's Texas BBQ Smoker in Plano, TX on Feb. 18...
Willie Meshack Jr. cooks up Meshack’s Texas BBQ Smoker in Plano, TX on Feb. 18, 2022. (Jason Janik/Special Contributor)(Jason Janik / Special Contributor)

The two sides of the family have no contact with each other and have different memories of the family’s barbecue origins, but each just wants to barbecue their own way under the Meshack name.

Travis Mayes said he and his wife are not taking any legal action against Willie Meshack Jr., but they want people to understand that the two restaurants have nothing to do with each other.

“I want people to know it’s not me and I’m not affiliated with them,” Mayes said. “This is Meshack’s Bar-B-Que, this smoky little hole in the wall. This is the real original barbecue.

Meshack’s Texas BBQ menu isn’t listed as such, but the food is markedly different from the traditional Texas BBQ coming out of Meshack’s Bar-B-Que Shack’s Garland Kitchen. The sandwiches are served on fried bread, a fluffy Caribbean fried bread fresh daily. The coleslaw is made with a ranch-style cream base instead of mayonnaise and is sweetened with chunky apple chunks. The potato salad contains peas and corn instead of the typical egg and bacon.

“Barbecue is a very saturated market in Texas, so we need to stand out,” Roberta Plaza said. “But we know there are nuances and expectations with Texas BBQ, so we’re sticking to the classics with some things.”

Meshack’s Texas BBQ is currently open at 200 Coit Rd. #112, Plano, TX 75075, Friday through Sunday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. for a soft opening before its full opening in March.

About James Almanza

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