Kent Rathbun Opens a Barbecue Trailer on the Katy Trail | Dallas Observer


First Look: Katy Trail Station Brings The Barbecue Outdoors

Succulent brisket and savory smoked gouda mac will make your taste buds happy.
Succulent brisket and savory smoked gouda mac will make your taste buds happy. Chris Wolfgang
Chef Kent Rathbun has made quite the career in restaurants and kitchens around Dallas, but in his latest venture he's bringing his talents to the great outdoors. Rathbun's namesake barbecue venture, Rathbun's Curbside BBQ, has a new home at Katy Trail Station, where an impressive trailer and expansive deck sidle up next to the Katy Trail to serve barbecue to all.

Rathbun has been slinging barbecue since the pandemic, with curbside pop-ups on weekends at Lovers Seafood Market. We've chatted up Rathbun over the last few months as he's worked with the city to get the spot on Katy Trail up and running, and he shared some of the challenges around operating a barbecue food trailer that he had no intentions of moving around. We've written at length about the city of Dallas' sometimes archaic rules around food trucks and trailers, and Rathbun's pursuit of all the proper permits involved a lot of navigating of city bureaucracy.

Everything was buttoned up late last year, then Rathbun and his partners went to work on building a deck that expanded outdoor seating and offered direct access from the Katy Trail. Rathbun tells us that as part of the agreement on the deck expansion, a portion of sales will be donated to Friends of Katy Trail and the White Rock Conservancy. Now that the weather is shedding its winter coat, we dropped in for a quick bite late on a recent Sunday.
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Kent Rathbun has turned his talents to barbecue and posted up on the Katy Trail.
Chris Wolfgang
During the pilot runs, Rathbun and team were originally serving up smoky goodness on the weekends only.  Now one can pop into Katy Trail Station six days a week. Start your morning with baked goods from Empire Baking Company, breakfast tacos and full coffee service, including lattes and cappuccinos. Consider it a reward for getting some morning exercise on the Katy Trail.

The barbecue we've tried so far is going to build a solid fan base, too. You can order meats as a sandwich or as an entrée, both of which are priced with a side included. We sampled the jalapeño sausage ($16) during a soft opening visit earlier this winter and came away suitably impressed, both with the juicy and spicy link and the mustard it was served with.

Last weekend, we opted for an entrée portion of sliced brisket ($18), which came with both cilantro slaw and a smoked gouda macaroni and cheese. Sliced brisket comes by default with Rathbun's tangy barbecue sauce, but the brisket needs no help (purists should ask for sauce on the side if this offends their sensibilities). It was perfectly tender and delicious, even when we were served one of the last orders of the day. The slaw sparkles beneath a crumble of queso fresca, and the smoked Gouda mac made our taste buds happy with every forkful.
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Great weather, check. Pet friendly, check. Barbecue, check. Your spring weekends have a new destination at Katy Trail Station.
Chris Wolfgang
A liquor license is in the works for Katy Trail Station, but on our visit, beers, hard seltzers and a few cocktails were gratis until the license is granted. When you go, bring some cash to take care of your servers and bartenders for the free drink hookup.

Eating succulent barbecue outdoors is a pleasure in and of itself. Of course, our mood was immeasurably brightened by mild temps, blue skies and live music playing on the deck. Or maybe it was the company of many like-minded folk and their four-legged friends. Whatever the reason, as spring and summer approach, we see a lot more weekends filled with delicious barbecue at Katy Trail Station in our future.

Katy Trail Station, 4825 Cole Ave. Tuesday – Sunday, 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
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Chris Wolfgang started writing about barbecue for the Dallas Observer in 2015, and became the Observer’s restaurant critic in October 2021. In his free time, he’s a dog owner, plays a mediocre guitar and is likely recovering from his latest rec-league sports injury.
Contact: Chris Wolfgang

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