Mum Foods Moves Into Manor Road Smokehouse Space

The not-so-new kid on the block opens softly this weekend

Courtesy of Mum Foods

Mum Foods is walking into the space where Fowler’s Smoking Soul Food once ran, on 5811 Manor Rd.

With only a little construction noise in the background, GM Preston Day said the rebuild was minor as Fowler’s was a solid smokehouse before they moved in. “We just put new paint on it, painted a mural, put some lipstick on it.” The mural is based on branding from Tess Victoria and features cute lil’ big old sandwiches.

Mum Foods, founded by Geoff Ellis and Matti Bills, first started out selling classic smoked BBQ by the pound at local farmers markets. In 2012, they serendipitously fell into brining when they ordered too many briskets and chose to pastrami them, for variety. While continuing to sell fresh BBQ at the markets on weekends, they slid into the space previously occupied by Elaine’s Pork & Pie next to the Eastside Cafe in 2017 and expanded their menu to include enormous banh mi and other staggering sandwiches, carefully curated sides, and decadent desserts. Now, they’re moving north on Manor Rd for an even bigger venture, continuing their commitment to making everything by hand and only sourcing from Texas producers.

Courtesy of Mum Foods

A soft opening (for friends and family, though “we won’t turn anyone away,” said Preston) of Mum Foods’ new mega-deli is slated for the weekend of November 17. They’ll be closed the following weekend, then expect Mum Foods to be fully open starting December 1.

The deli will feature the aforementioned accidental pastrami which got the best-in-state nod from Texas Monthly’s BBQ editor Daniel Vaughn (he only searched for five years before finding Mum’s). But pastrami by the pound isn’t the sole reason to visit. Expect all the smoked meats, traditional deli and BBQ sides, scratch-made desserts, beers on tap, a coffee bar, and a wine program.

Preston said their coffee bar partner is Talisman. “They’re another farmers market fave, his family owns a coffee farm in Nicaragua. They ship and roast it here, and retails them.”

The beer and wine program will start immediately. Preston promises “ten beers on tap, some cider, and Juneshine, which is a hard kombucha. We’ll also have some nice micheladas, mimosas, some interesting bottles of wine, some porch slammers. Wines that pair well with BBQ. A little dryer, a little fruit forward.”

Breads like sourdough rye, pumpernickel, and beef tallow challah buns will now be baked in-house from scratch in Windsor Park, for now to be made into sandwiches. Later perhaps to be sold by the loaf, she asked hopefully? Preston said maybe one day, but for now, the bread is earmarked for sandwiches.

All pickles will be made in house, and Preston promises “a big batch of deli half sour will always be available, and seasonal pickles based on what's available. Any of the deli classics you can imagine, we'll be offering them.

As for sweets, the deli mainstays will be present: cookies, pies, cheesecake. As Preston put it, “some basics to start with, then we will expand.” Maybe another unexpected hit like that brine?

The vibe promises to be “playful,” perhaps to match the vibe of a BBQ joint that accidentally started making pastrami when it once had too many briskets back in 2012, and now wears the mantle of best in Texas. Preston said, “It is going well. We’re hanging the art. We’re all staffed out. We have farmers markets this weekend too. We tested the equipment so we’re all solid.” As solid as a giant sandwich.

Mum Foods will still offer smoked meats by the pound at the Mueller, Lakeline, and Barton Creek farmers markets.

Fowler’s moved out of the space in February 2022, and is operating exclusively as a catering operation.

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