Rolling Out

Brent and Juan Reaves are continuing their father’s legacy at Smokey John’s

The brothers are keeping their father’s story alive

As soon as you get out of the car, the smell hits you. It’s the scent of the old-fashioned Southern cooking that you’d get at grandma’s house on a random Sunday. Ribs, brisket, turkey, sausage, vegetables, and a tasty dessert are what’s in store for you when entering Smokey John’s BBQ and Home Cooking in Dallas. Led by brothers Brent and Juan Reaves, they’re looking to uphold their father’s legacy right where he opened his first restaurant in 1976.

Their dad, John Reaves, was known for his legendary hickory-smoked hams and turkeys, and Brent and Juan are looking to keep his story alive with great Southern food and a place that’s family-friendly for all.

Brent and Juan spoke with rolling out at Smokey John’s about the restaurant, keeping their father’s legacy alive, and their vision for the business.

How does it feel to have a spot like this where people can go to enjoy good food?

Juan Reaves: I feel like we are continuing our dad’s tradition. Back in the day, he had the spot to go to and he was really good friends with a lot of Dallas Cowboy players in the ’70s and ’80s. He had a lot of celebrities and a lot of Black professionals come to hang out and he had a little club inside the restaurant. It’s kind of the history and the legacy.

Brent Reaves: It’s super cool to be a part of that just for us to be able to carry it out. You don’t really see a lot of generational Black businesses, so what we want to do is hopefully be an example for other businesses that decide to take a chance and be the next generation to carry on their family’s legacy.

Why is serving the community important to you all?

BR: The everyday person is our celebrity. They’re the ones that are going to come two to three times a week. They’re the reason why we have these beautiful lights on. If they don’t show up two to three times a week, then we’re not in business. You may have an athlete that comes in once every five years or so if they’re in town because they’re always traveling, but your everyday fans, your everyday patron customer, that’s our celebrity.

JR: We want to cater to everyone. We try to create a vibe like when you go to grandma’s house, you go in and have to get a plate, and everybody feels loved. It doesn’t matter if you bring a friend from college, from home, from work, wherever they come from, they’re always welcomed, and I think that’s what we try to create, that vibe here for all of our customers, all of our patrons, and the people that support us. You can kind of see that because I spent 30 minutes yesterday talking to a couple of ladies who have been coming here since before Brent was born.

Why should this be someone’s first stop when they come to Dallas?

JR: I will say this: I don’t know if it needs to be your first stop, but you’re cheating yourself if it’s not one of your stops. We’re not just barbecue. We have country cooking, we have soul food, we got greens, cabbage, and yams. You can eat healthy here and you can hurt yourself. You can have some homemade banana pudding or peach cobbler, and you just feel a little bit of that homestyle Texas Southern kind of hospitality.

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