Roy Harris is happiest when he makes the stomach of someone else happy.

That's why he is opening R.L. Harris BBQ this month in Red Oak.

Harris said his experience goes way back before opening a restaurant.

“I’ve been cooking for over 20 years,” said Harris, who has worked in the business for five years. “I enjoy seeing the smile on people’s faces when they bite into my food. That is the joy of cooking.”

The restaurant will open on a .296-acre lot of 305 N Industrial Blvd. Red Oak City Manager Todd Fuller said the previous owners lost non-conforming status after an extended period of neglecting the property.

The current owner was also one of Harris’ favorite customers at his old business. He loved Harris’ cooking so much that he offered to lease the property to him over a year ago.

“It’s gonna have a totally new look from what it’s looking like now,” Harris said.

With renovations starting just over four months ago, Harris said he updated the outside by putting in new concrete parking spaces, as well as installing masonry stone brick over the old building’s infrastructure. Cedar-wrapped posts are being considered for the restaurant front, two old accessory buildings are being removed in the back of the property and a barbeque pit area will be installed in the rear.

Harris said he’s aiming for a sports theme with his new restaurant.

“It’s gonna be similar to a sports bar,” he said. “We’re gonna have beer and wine, we’ll have sports on TV, and of course we’ll have that good old R.L. Harris BBQ.”

Harris said he cut off ties to his previous family business due to a personal dispute. But he’s bringing his menu with him.

“Brisket, ribs, pulled pork, we have loaded baked potatoes and stuff like that,” Harris said. “We’ve got the best briskets you’ve probably ever tasted.”

Looking forward to the restaurant’s opening later this month, Harris said he’s excited to bring his barbeque to Red Oak.

“I’m giving y’all bragging rights,” he said.


David Dunn, @DavidDunnInTX



*The previous version of this article incorrectly identified Roy Harris as being employed by Waxahachie-based Harris Barbeque when the restaurant was recognized by D Magazine and Texas Monthly in 2016. However, he left the restaurant in 2014. We apologize for the confusion.