Oct 19, 2018
Willow Villarreal had many friends in both his professional (working for Fox Sports) and personal life (as a promoter and booker of punk and heavy metal music). But he found a new community – just as caring, equally passionate – when he decided to switch careers to pursue barbecue.
The proof is the people’s choice Golden Cleaver award he’s snared twice in a row at the Butcher’s Ball, the festival that showcases local farmers and ranchers who uphold ethical and sustainable practices and the chefs and pitmasters who use those products.
Villarreal’s got a new barbecue food truck – Willow’s Texas BBQ -- and is making his home at Shady Acres Saloon, 1115 W. 19th, a rambling bar and backyard party space that fits well with his casual barbecue menu he executes with his fiancée, Jasmine Barela.
Houston Chronicle BBQ State of Mind hosts (barbecue columnist J.C. “Chris” Reid, restaurant critic Alison Cook and food editor Greg Morago) talk to Villarreal about his quick, determined rise in the Houston barbecue community.