GLEN ROSE – After some time in Las Vegas a local family is back in Glen Rose and giving an old eatery new life. Tom and Linda Hammond are bringing their family’s famous BBQ back – kind of.
“We were gone for about two and a half years* but we’re glad to be back,” Linda said. “We’re getting the whole family together and ready to get it going.”
A little history on the Hammond’s family BBQ: In 1965 AJ Hammond, the “god-father” of Glen Rose BBQ, started cooking BBQ in his back yard to make extra money during the weekends. It was a year later in 1966 when he opened his first restaurant in Glen Rose that was located at an old florist building on US Hwy 67. In 1973, Hammond’s moved to Coyote Strip on CR 1004.
In 1985 Tom opened the second Hammond’s BBQ - which is still at its original location. The family sold the restaurant in 1997 to the current owner’s brother-in-law, Daryl Higgins. In 2000, Larry and Judy Higgins purchased Hammond’s BBQ and have been operating it successfully ever since.
“I purchased it from my brother-in-law, I took it over January 4th of 2000,” Larry Higgins said. “They sold the recipe and the name and the building lot. I guess you could say lock, stock and barrel.”
In 2002 Tom and Linda took over Loco Coyote and sold it to Loyd and Becki McClanahan in 2013.
“It was April 22nd when we signed the papers,” Becki said. “They sold the recipes, the name, the construction of all the burgers, everything - so everything is proprietary to this location.”
Now the Hammonds family is back and getting ready to open Roadrunner Smokehouse.
Like their father, AJ, who helped them with the original Hammond’s BBQ, Tom and Linda plan to help their kids with Roadrunner, and what’s neat is that the Roadrunner is in the original location of the family’s BBQ restaurant AJ started in the 1960s.
“Thirty years later we’re trying to help our children get started,” Linda said. “My daughter and son, Elizabeth and Aaron Hammond, are going to be the ones running it, and we’ll help them. Tom will do the BBQ and I’ll do the desserts - my blackberry cobbler was rated Top 10 by the Dallas Morning News.”
The new restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday and will feature BBQ, chicken fried steak, steak, catfish and shrimp, and all the traditional Texas style cuisine. Being a family restaurant the Hammond’s will not have a full bar at first but will allow their guests to bring their own beer and then later will offer beer and wine for sale.
“I don’t want it to be a bar,” Linda said, “I want it to be family friendly.”
So how do the other two BBQ restaurants that the Hammonds opened and sold feel about their return? - Well being the gracious and strong community that Glen Rose is, they are all happy to see them return and contribute to the growing town.
“I don’t think it’s going to hurt us a bit and we wish them the best,” Becki, owner of Loco Coyote, said. “I think Glen Rose can always use more restaurants. We actually have, for the most part, changed the recipes and they’re our own now. We’ve tweaked them and done some new things, so it’s our restaurant, it’s our BBQ. We’ve got more business than we can handle most days - on any given Saturday we’ll have five to six hundred people on our wait list through the day - so it doesn’t really have an impact on us.”
Larry Higgins, owner of Hammond’s BBQ, said, “To me, all that is irrelevant to 2016. That stuff is in the past. We’ve moved on to securing the business under Hammond’s and it was purchased with the name and the recipes. There’s no animosity and there’s no disfavor from me towards that family."
"I look at it this way," Higgins continued, "everybody has a right to open up a business and do what [he or she] wants to do. I’m not the least bit upset that they’re opening up. This town’s growing and there’s business to be had by everyone. Hats off to whoever wants to start something go for it. The sky’s the limit, that’s the way I look at it. We thrive on the business that the Hammonds started 50 years ago. It’s crazy to think anything bad about it. It’s been a good ride, we’re here on our 17th year.”
Even more so reflecting the commitment to the community and their BBQ the Hammonds have, Tom and Linda stayed and helped out when they first sold Hammond’s BBQ.
“Tom and Linda cook good food from what I hear,” Larry said. “I know they did here when my brother-in-law bought it from them. He knew nothing about the food business and Tom stayed with him for several weeks or months until he got the hang of it."
*Linda Hammond has since clarified that the family returned after approximately one and a half years, not two and a half as previously stated.