Community supports iconic Sam’s BBQ after turning down $3M offer


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Saturday’s gray clouds didn’t stop dozens and dozens of people showing up to Sam’s BBQ in east Austin to show their support for the decades-old establishment.

“Despite the rain, good food is good in any weather,” said Erica Steverson who was trying out Sam’s BBQ for the first time.

Just last week, the owner, Brian Mays, was offered a hefty sum to sell his place. Mays says someone offered him $3.5 million, but he decided to turn it down.

“I heard on Facebook that Sam’s BBQ did this really courageous thing and I wanted to support [them] and make sure that they stay in the neighborhood,” Steverson said.

A Facebook event quickly made the rounds online with more than 2,000 people interested and 465 RSVP’ing to the day event.

“We’re going to wait outside in the rain if we need to, rain or shine, buddy,” said Mike Pendon, who lives in the neighborhood near Sam’s BBQ.

Pendon says the barbecue joint is an east Austin staple and he has noticed the impact the growth is having on the city.

“East Austin has a history, rich history,” Pendon said. “There’s a lot of people who are moving to Austin, which is great, but they need to move here and find out what’s cool about Austin and this is one of the things we need to preserve.”

The offer Mays received is not abnormal with the ongoing development, but Mays says all the support he’s received has meant more to him than the $3.5 million.

And, for Mays the memories of the past 43 years at Sam’s BBQ are priceless. He says he’s not planning on going anywhere, anytime soon.

“If I’m going to move, it’s going to be on up,” he said pointing to the sky. “We’re not going to move away.”

Mays says depending on how business goes, he’s looking into adding breakfast to his menu in the near future.

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