By Dana Delgado
BERTRAM — If a full house of hungry and happy diners is any indication, Austinites Morgan Schott and his partner Corey Thibideaux may be well be on their way to establishing one of the region’s favorite eateries and hangouts.
Located at 110 State Highway 29 in the heart of historic downtown Bertram, HWY 29 BBQ is not your ordinary barbecue joint.
Scott and Thibideaux, with nearly 10 years of barbecue experience and plenty of Austin-like energy, are offering a rare specialty for the Hill Country by serving up old German-Czech style barbecue in the likeness of the renowned barbecue served in Lockhart.
“We plan to put out a good quality product every day,” Schott said. “Everything is prepared in-house daily so it will be always fresh. I’m just a believer in doing it right.”
With reasonable prices ($10-30), the eatery offers brisket and ribs by the pound and an array of sides including beans, potato salad, and cole slaw along with banana pudding for dessert.
HWY 29 BBQ is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. until they run out of food.
Schott added that their restaurant will offer only certified Angus beef and meets high standards of being hormone-free for all those health-conscious diners.
To cook the meat evenly and in large quantities, the owners designed and had constructed a massive brick pit outside, under the covered patio in back of the business. In addition, Schott said the design allows the pit to be more efficient and require less wood.
Diners Connie Heller from Sunrise Beach and her adult daughters Deedee Denby from Burnet and Bertie Denby of Austin gave their mixed BBQ platter of sausage and ribs high marks.
“It’s all very good,” said Deedee who also found the banana pudding quite scrumptious and much to her liking.
Liberty Hill residents James and Lee Coston also raved about the food.
“It was great,” Lee Coston readily said. He said he was also fascinated by the tables crafted especially by owner Schott for use by patrons for domino players.
HWY 29 BBQ opened its doors August 5, and has had a steady stream of customers. The Oatmeal Festival last weekend was its breakout event.
Schott and Thibideaux considered various sites before settling on the Bertram location because of the phenomenal documented daily traffic count of 27,000 cars and regional potential.
Schott said that he was encouraged to open his own restaurant by customers while working as a cook after relinquishing his duties as a fishing and hunting guide. In the kitchen, he found a real niche for himself along with a loyal following.
CoreyThibideaux previously worked in his parent’s restaurant before venturing into a career in logistics and management with various companies across the state including the Dallas and San Antonio areas. This is his first time owning his own business.
“I just wanted to do my own thing,” said Thibideaux.
Schott and Thibideaux said they met about six years ago and hit it off. Not long after, they started spinning ideas. He said they would like to eventually become a full scale in store barbecue operation and expand to catering and mail order once they have more kitchen space. Completion of a commercial kitchen is projected within the next 18 months.