Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Mike and Liz Randolph's Original J's Tex-Mex & Barbecue Is Now Open

Posted By on Mon, Nov 25, 2019 at 8:16 AM

click to enlarge Mike and Liz Randolph will offer Tex-Mex favorites in a casual, family-friendly environment. - SPENCER PERNIKOFF
  • Mike and Liz Randolph will offer Tex-Mex favorites in a casual, family-friendly environment.

One of the most-anticipated restaurants of the year is about to make its debut: Original J's Tex-Mex & Barbecue (7359 Forsyth Boulevard, University City) opens for business at 11 a.m. today.

Owners Mike and Liz Randolph posted the news on the restaurant's official Facebook and Instagram pages last night, sharing that doors will open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. this week. The hours are abbreviated for now, according to the post; we'll update this story when regular operating hours are announced.

As the Riverfront Times reported earlier this year, Original J's is focused on serving Tex-Mex-style barbecue restaurant in a "casual, family-friendly" atmosphere. Expect the counter-service restaurant to offer "Texas-style barbecue served as tacos, platters and bowls" and draw some inspiration from the couple's former lauded restaurant, Público.

The concept for Original J's was also influenced by the Randolphs' travels through Texas, which has translated into menu items such as pulled pork nachos, brisket chimichangas and chicharrons with barbecue rub.

Situated in University City inside a former Fortel's Pizza Den location, Original J's gives James Beard Best Chef: Midwest semifinalist Mike Randolph the chance to explore a different kind of 'cue in town.

"I don't think that this is just another barbecue restaurant in St. Louis, but I also don't think a city that loves its barbecue like St. Louis has reached critical mass," Randolph told RFT in August. "Look at places like Kansas City or Memphis or Nashville — there's nothing wrong with having a lot of barbecue in your town."

In reverence to the Texas-style barbecue that inspired Original J's, Randolph is taking the low and slow approach to smoking meat, letting it go for sixteen hours over Missouri oak in Myron Mixon smokers with just a simple salt and pepper seasoning.

"The most important thing for us is to have reverence and respect for Texas barbecue," Randolph explained. "We're not setting out to say we have the best Texas barbecue. The thing that is instilled in us is that we are dedicating ourselves to the ideal."

While Público has inspired part of the Original J's concept, the vibe and price point at the barbecue joint will be more casual and approachable — and despite the restaurant' name, the Randolphs say to expect more than just platters of smoked meat.

"This is what Liz and I want to eat and what we are excited about at this point in our lives," Randolph said. "Liz isn't a huge fan of having a big platter of smoked meat, and she had a huge role in developing the half of the menu that we hope will appeal to a broader range of people."

More as we learn it.

Follow Liz Miller on Twitter at @lizzaymillah. We are always hungry for tips and feedback. Email the author at
  • Sign up for our weekly newsletters to get the latest on the news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.
  • Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation