Few things are more Texan than barbecue and guns — and now, at Brooks’ Place BBQ, you can have both.
After open carry became legal in Texas on Jan. 1, Brooks’ Place, a food truck located in an Ace Hardware parking lot in Cypress, began offering a 10 percent discount for customers who present their handgun license and openly carry their gun. Many have left messages in support of the discount on the restaurant’s Facebook and Yelp pages, but not everyone is happy about the discount. Yelp user Cliff M. wrote that he refused to eat at Brooks Place because of the discount.
“I’m sure there are plenty of gun nuts to take my place, though,” he said.
An opponent of open carry threatened the barbecue joint on New Year’s Day, the first day open carry was allowed.
“I’ll shoot up the place on Saturday,” a user on the Facebook page wrote. “Let’s see you how your gun-toting patrons will stop me.”
Owner Trent Brooks notified the police and hired two off-duty constables to guard the truck, but the threat never materialized. What did materialize, however, were 300 patrons, of which 200 had guns on their hips.
Although his discount has attracted attention from news outlets nationwide, Brooks said he is focused on the food Brooks’ Place BBQ serves.
“I’m a businessman, not a politician,” Brooks said.
In contrast to Brooks’ Place’s discount, many establishments have banned both concealed and open carry on their premises by posting 30.06 and 30.07 signs, which legally allows the establishment to ban weapons. Several large chains including Target, HEB, Fiesta and Whataburger, will not permit open carry. A number of local restaurants, including Torchy’s Tacos, House of Pies and Amy’s Ice Cream, also prohibit open carry. Torchy’s Tacos released a statement on their website late December citing customer concern and safety for the restaurant’s open carry ban.
Duncan College sophomore Evan Flack said that Torchy’s decision to ban open carry would not affect his decision to go to the store.
“I don’t feel threatened,” Flack said. “But I can see how it would definitely affect some people’s decisions who feel less safe around people who were open carrying.”
Whataburger CEO Preston Atkinson released a similar statement on the Whataburger website.
“We’ve had many customers and employees tell us they’re uncomfortable being around someone with a visible firearm who is not a member of law enforcement,” Atkinson said. “[Thus], we don’t restrict licensed concealed carry but do ask customers not to open carry in our restaurants.”
Some chains, like McDonalds, will leave the decision to individual franchisees, and some larger stores, including Walmart and Kroger, will allow open carry.