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At 95 Years Old, Riscky’s Remains a Barbecue Icon in Fort Worth

The restaurant is closing in on a century of business with 95 cent deals on a lot of its classic barbecue dishes for its anniversary

The orange/brown exterior of a barbecue restaurant, with multiple black and white signs advertising it’s food.
The original Riscky’s BBQ on Azle Avenue in Fort Worth in 2022.
Courtney E. Smith is the editor of Eater Dallas. She's a journalist of 20 years who was born and raised in Texas, with bylines in Pitchfork, Wired, Esquire, Yahoo!, Salon, Refinery29, and more. When she's not writing about food, she co-hosts the podcast Songs My Ex Ruined.

Fort Worth’s second-oldest restaurant has a big birthday on Thursday, October 20. The barbecue joint turns 95 years old, and its owners say that makes it the second oldest restaurant in the city. There aren’t a lot of restaurants that have kept their doors open since 1927. Eddie Sullivan, who has been a co-owner with Jim and Norma Riscky since 2005, told Eater Dallas that serving the best quality meat and everything else they can get at the lowest price they can make it is the key to success. “I even say our bottled water, Artesian Well [is the best],” Sullivan says.

“I don’t ever try to knock anybody, but people are always calling themselves craft and coming up with these new terms,” Sullivan tells Eater Dallas. “Our product is certified Angus briskets, just like any other craft people or whatever you want to call it. We just do a larger quantity. We sell over a million pounds of smoked meat a year. I’ll put our brisket up against anybody’s.”

At Riscky’s birthday celebration on Thursday, patrons are invited to a free event from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the restaurant’s Fort Worth Stockyards location (140 E. Exchange Avenue), with free barbecue samplers, beer, and giveaways that include an overnight stay in the Stockyards. Additionally, select menu items will be 95 cents all day long, including the chopped beef sandwich, pulled pork sandwich, beef and pork ribs (per rib), brisket tacos (per taco), fried pickles, Texas fries, soda, tea, and a pint of domestic beer.

Beef ribs sit on a silver tray lined with brown paper. In the background is another tray of french fries and a bottle of barbecue sauce.
Riscky’s all-you-can-eat beef ribs.

That’s not to say that Riscky’s hasn’t changed with the times. To appeal to the next generation of barbecue enthusiasts, Sullivan explains it has added items like brisket burnt ends, brisket bites, and fried pickles to the menu. “I think people that grew up around here in Fort Worth who have been coming to Riscky’s for years just love our barbecue,” Sullivan says.

A pair of Polish immigrants, Mary and Joe Riscky, opened the first location, Riscky’s Grocery & Market, at 2314 Azle Avenue. Sullivan explains that the deli counter is still in service and dishing out chopped sandwiches at the “really good price” of four for $5.

Like many other restaurants, Sullivan says the most significant challenge Riscky’s is facing this day is continuing to get the products they need at a good enough price to keep passing savings on to its customers. He hopes they’ve locked down enough turkey to get through Christmas. And he says the hunt for the best ranches to get beef from is always on, but as long as they can get brisket for a decent price, customers should expect top quality for the best price.

“We also have all-you-can-eat beef ribs, which is very popular,” Sullivan says — and that’s every day, not just for its anniversary.