RHBQ’s extreme makeover

RHBQ/Red Hot & Blue (Photo by Kathy Tran)

RHBQ/Red Hot & Blue (Photo by Kathy Tran)

For Red Hot & Blue’s 30th birthday, the longtime barbecue franchise got a makeover.

“There’s not a single 2-by-4 left in that restaurant,” owner Craig Collins says. “We gutted the entire thing. It’s completely different. There’s not a toilet seat that was there before.”

Renamed RHBQ, the establishment now has an outdoor patio and bar featuring biweekly events from football watch parties to beer tastings. Collins hired a barbecue consultant to tweak its offerings, and, this being Dallas, a brunch menu is on the horizon.

Live music is now a weekly feature at RHBQ, which is good news for bands like Hall Street. (Photo by Kathy Tran)

Live music is now a weekly feature at RHBQ, which is good news for bands like Hall Street. (Photo by Kathy Tran)

Local musicians take the stage every Friday to perform everything from rock and blues to jazz and electronic.

“I was in a band in my teens,” Collins says. “I wasn’t going to make it as a rock star. I have a soft spot for starving artists and giving people a chance to get some exposure.”

Collins is the only business owner who didn’t vacate The Hill, even when the shopping center was wrought with neglect. The former property owners didn’t maintain the common space, and the tenure of high-profile chains like Kroger were short-lived.

The barbecue franchise, along with Collins’ Nazca Kitchen, became staples of the barren development at Walnut Hill Lane and Central Expressway.

“We have managed to weather the storm thus far,” Collins says. “Hopefully it’ll pay off for us long term.”

The Hill’s $90-million makeover spurred RHBQ’s facelift. Capref Manager — which bought the center in 2014 and is overseeing its renovations — partnered with Collins to fund the outdoor gathering space, making it fit in line with the new look of the upgraded development.

“We had the opportunity to update it and make it something for this generation,” Collins says.

Did you know: Owner Craig Collins was an attorney before he became a restaurateur. He still has his law license and does pro-bono work occasionally.


Ambiance: family-friendly barbecue joint
Price Range: $12-$18
Hours: 11 a.m.–9 p.m.
Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday
9810 N. Central Expressway, suite 600

RHBQ/Red Hot & Blue (Photo by Kathy Tran)

Beer flight at RHBQ (Photo by Kathy Tran)