Day Trips

Dallas' Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse lights up the sunny side of the street

Day Trips
Photo by Gerald E. Mcleod

Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse is an old-school barbecue joint with the downtown Dallas skyline as a backdrop.

When it opened in 1958, the original Sonny Bryan's stood on the edge of town and the city soon built up around it. There's no telling how many medicinal plates of barbecue Sonny's crew has provided over the years to the staff and patients of UT Southwestern Medical School, Parkland Hospital, and the Medical District that surrounds the tiny cinder-block restaurant.

Day Trips
Photo by Gerald E. Mcleod

The menu is a traditional list of Texas smoked meats with the notable exceptions of barbecue sauce-smothered pulled pork and a jalapeño sausage that will clear the sinuses. The standout meal was the tender beef brisket and potato salad, topped off with apple cobbler for only $1 more.

The Bryan barbecue legend goes back to 1910, when Elias Bryan arrived in Dallas from Cincinnati. His son, William Jennings Bryan, known as "Red," struck out on his own in 1935. William Jennings Bryan Jr., called "Sonny" by friends and family, followed in the smoked-meat business. They all opened their rendition of the family tradition on Feb. 13.

The original Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse is at 2202 Inwood Rd., just a few blocks north of I-35. The family dynasty has grown to seven locations in the Metroplex and two in Utah. The smoker is open 10am to 9pm, or until they run out of food. Place an order at 214/357-7120 or visit

1,173rd in a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.

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Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse, Dallas, barbecue, William Jennings Bryan Jr.

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