Allison is the owner of Allison’s Texas Barbecue, 6750 E. Main St., Mesa

(480) 634-3153 or

Q: Tell us about your restaurant.

LA: We’re very mom and pop. It’s my brother, his wife and myself. We’re Texans, and it’s been a dream of ours to have our own barbecue place.

We’re from South Texas, around Corpus Christi and Goliad, and we grew up on mesquite-smoked barbecue. It’s all about the beef there — brisket, sausage. That’s the m.o. for barbecue around there. As you get into the Hill Country, they use a lot of oak, and in East Texas they use more pecan wood and even some hickory. But for us, it was mesquite-smoked beef, and that’s different from a lot of Southern barbecue that focuses on pork. To me, barbecue always meant brisket; I didn’t even know what pulled pork was until I left the state.

Q: What’s Allison’s known for?

LA: We have my grandmother’s recipe for corn souffle on the menu, and that is far and away one of the favorites. For us, it was one of those things you had for Thanksgiving and Christmas, one of those things you were always excited to see on the table. It’s like a super-moist corn bread or corn cake-type dish with cream corn, whole corn, butter — it’s rich and sweet. It offsets some of the smokiness and spiciness of the barbecue.

I hear repeatedly that our pecan pie is the best people have had, and that’s my sister-in-law’s recipe. It’s really neat to have our family recipes turn into favorites for other people, too.

Q: Where do you like to eat out?

LA: I’m a huge foodie, and it’s kind of a hobby of mine, exploring different places. I’ve worked my whole life in restaurants, and before I did this, I worked with Fleming’s Steakhouse. I’m kind of partial there. I love that place.

My family gets together quite a bit at Red, White and Brew (in Mesa). I like D’Vine (in Mesa); that’s a cool little wine bar. I had a great Mexican meal the other day at Barrio Cafe (in Phoenix).

Q: What do you most enjoy at some of these places?

LA: I love the pizza at Red, White and Brew, and I love the wine list at D’Vine. They always have a pretty fun selection.

As a meat eater running a barbecue place, a good bone-in ribeye at Flemings and their house potatoes are tough to beat.

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