A Texas woman spent $40,000 to revitalize her family’s business, White’s Bar-B-Q, with a rich history in the state.

White’s Bar-B-Q reopened on July 1 in Longview, TX after being closed since 1985. Back in the day, White’s served as one of the oldest, family and Black-owned restaurants in Texas. According to CBS, music icon Ray Charles dined at the establishment when America was still segregated. 

Audrey White, the daughter of the original owner, spent her own money to bring the historic restaurant back to life. When the city gave her the option of demolishing the abandoned building or remodeling it, White sprung into action. She knew it was important to resurrect the restaurant from decay, so its legacy could live on. 

“They had a lot of community then,” White told CBS. “African Americans had nowhere else to eat; they had nowhere else to come in.” 

Photo credit: samer daboul

Although White said she spent most of her savings on remodeling expenses, she knows the cost will be worth it. While Texas ranks as the third best state for Black entrepreneurs to be successful, according to Merchant Maverick, it previously reigned as one of the most racist, segregated states in the country. 

According to the book African Americans in South Texas History, San Antonio became the first southern city to integrate lunch counters in 1960. Despite the attempt, voluntary segregation continued with essayist Robert A. Goldberg saying “civil rights has been granted, not won.” Having survived through, such racially tumultuous times, it was important White’s Bar-B-Q fire up its grills once more. 

“The grand opening was just so exhilarating because of the support that the community has given me,” White said. “When people come in, they will see things in the past; they will see themselves when they were younger.”

So far, the restaurant has been doing well. A blend of nostalgia and new age flavor, White’s Bar-B-Q is recreating fresh memories for East Texans. The menu is also a blast from the past with ribs, beef and sausage, chicken leg quarters, brisket and more. 

“One young lady held a birthday party here, a private deal and she was sitting here with all of her friends and it was so happy everybody was happy,” White said.” It was just like back in the day.”

White’s Bar-B-Q is opened every Saturday in Longview, TX from 11:30 am to 5 p.m.