House Park is an old-time, country-style barbecue shack that's been in business since 1943. Named after the high school football stadium a block away (the building that houses Austin Community College's Rio Grande campus was the original Austin High School), House Park serves lunch on weekdays in a small, crowded, and smoke-stained room, replete with memorabilia. They proudly display their slogan on the ramshackle yellow marquee: "Need no teef to eat my beef." This tidbit of barbecue folk wisdom is attributed to longtime Austin pit master, the late C-Boy Parks. Sure, the building is funky and not much to look at, but it's what's on the plate that counts. Killer chopped-beef sandwiches, sliced brisket, and Elgin sausage, served with white bread, pickles, and onions. The closest thing to a vegetable might be the mayonnaise potato salad. The only disappointment to a true barbecue aficionado might be the lack of ribs, which to me is the holy grail of smoked beasts. Nevertheless, House Park must be doing something right to have remained in jam-packed business for more than 50 years and – thankfully – counting.
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