801 Red River Street
Austin, TX 78701
Hours: Mon-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 11am-9pm
Gospel Brunch: Sun 11am-1pm
Written by: Dan Murray
Stubb’s is one of Austin’s premier non-concert hall venues, with a small indoor stage for local acts and, outside, the Waller Creek Amphitheatre, which at 2,200 capacity is big enough for packed national-tour shows. The Sunday Gospel Brunch is a weekly fix for locals with live music, a mouth-watering buffet, and make-your-own Bloody Mary setups.
The history and continuance of Stubb’s Bar-B-Q is one of lore and legend, from where it originated in Lubbock, TX, to its current location in Austin. It is a place where great music, good food and vibrant individuals, has produced a magical quality, strengthening communities and crossing racial barriers.
The place is named for C.B. “Stubb” Stubblefield, who returned home to Lubbock after serving as a cook in an all-black Army regiment during the Korean War, and opened a ragtag barbecue joint in 1968. One day he gave a lift to a hitchhiking white blues guitarist by the name of Jesse Taylor, and Stubb unknowingly helped dent the race barrier in Lubbock and married his food to music.
Willie Nelson and other big-name southern musicians began playing at the restaurant, such as Johnny Cash, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, George Thorogood, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Joe Ely. Stubb would get up himself and sing sometimes, and he always made sure that the musicians were well fed. “The place was about barbecue and music,” country music singer and songwriter Tom T. Hall, another familiar face in Lubbock, told National Public Radio. “You knew if you wanted to hang out with your kind of people, you could go out to Stubb’s and see a bunch of pickers out there. It was like camels to a watering hole. And he [Stubb] loved musicians. He was kind of an archangel.” Stubb’s ears and fondness for fun were better than his business sense, friends said, and he went broke in 1975 despite the venue’s popularity. The club was sold to investors in 1985. He died in ’95, but his spirit lives on and Stubb’s reopened in Austin where it has revived its original spirit and camaraderie.
“Stubb’s was a totally unique place where people came together from all walks of life to make music and uplift our own spirits and those of others,” Ely told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. “There always was a mix of cultures, a mix of races; it was blacks meeting whites, blues meeting country. It was a melting pot.”