Started in 1958, Sonny Bryan's is a Texas legend for barbecue. Its original location on Inwood Rd. and Harry Hines in Dallas remains a tourist destination. As the menu itself states, the area was then considered "Far North Dallas". Hard to imagine that today.
While I've still never stepped foot in the original location with its DISD school desks (saw enough of those... in DISD schools), I do remember going to the Red Bryan's on Lombardy (Thanks Mr D for the catch!), just west of Webbs Chapel, not far from the "North Dallas" I grew up near. We had gone a couple of times on the way back from bowling at Circle Bowl when I was still a young boy in the mid 1970s. Curious - any of my readers ever bowl at Circle Bowl? Any of my readers ever bowl in a "Bantam League" (generally for kids aged 11-12)? Today, the old Circle Bowl is a dive bar of ill repute (11/4/10 update: it's been torn down to make way for the DART light rail). And the area where the Sonny Bryan's was is now a fully fledged Little Mexico. Actually the RJG recommends a couple of taqueria's in the area, but that's for another post.
NE Tarrant once had a Sonny Bryan's in Grapevine (TX-114 and Wall), but they closed down sometime around 2004. We visited only once, so I guess we didn't do our part to keep it open. The closest location for us is near the Alliance airport in "Far North Ft. Worth". There doesn't exist an Alliance, TX in reality. Despite the local boosterism.
On this visit I tried the brisket, pulled pork and jalapeno sausage. For sides I chose beans and mac & cheese. All were good, though no question I've had better elsewhere. I added their sauce (neatly heated in old Dr. Pepper bottles) as well as a "pork sauce" which I didn't care for. I couldn't find a homemade spicy sauce, though they offered the usual array of cajun sauces.
So yes, there's better barbecue in DFW. But if an out of town guest wanted to visit this legendary chain, then by all means do so - they won't be disappointed.
They currently have 9 locations, the other 8 on the east side of DFW airport.