RICHMOND, TX - Rarely do you open a restaurant before you decide what you're going to serve, but that's almost what Steve Onstad did back in 1973, when he built what is now known as The Swinging Door.
“We built the building not knowing what it was going to be, beer joint, cafe, grocery store, who knows? I had a guy poke his head in the door when we were building it and said 'you got anything to eat' and I asked 'what would you like' and he said 'barbeque sandwich would be nice' so I went and got a barbeque pit and started practicing," recalled Onstad.
Steve has collected a few more pits since then, and he's gotten pretty good on a smoker. Chew on this, these days they're putting out about 3000 pounds of meat per week. For four decades, that meat has been filling bellies from all over Texas with good quality barbecue, and Steve knows exactly what hits the spot.
It's simplicity in the best way. The Swinging Door skips the frills and sticks to what they know, which is why not much has changed in 42 years.
"When people come here, they know what they're going to get. I've got two ladies that have been with me forever, that come in every morning and make the potato salad the same way. We've been making it the same way for 35 years,” said Onstad, "Instead of trying to do a whole lot of things half-decent, I prefer to focus on our core and be good and consistent."
Even with two locations now, after opening at the Fort Bend Country Club a few years ago, consistency remains a proud trademark of The Swinging Door, and just like his menu, Steve wants the swinging door to stay put, and continue to be a staple in the Richmond community.