When Angelo first opened the restaurant, there were only four dining tables, a stand-up table and an ordering counter, which added up to as much of a beer joint as a restaurant. He operated his business with his wife, June, his brother, Orville, who passed away in 1984, and his son, Skeet. When Angelo passed away in 1997, at the age of 71, he and his son Skeet had built the business into the renowned and thriving gathering spot it is today.
"Dad's hard work and determination put this place on the map,” said Skeet George, who grew up in and later took over the barbeque business. "He wanted to leave a viable business for his family, but what he actually left is a legacy for us and for Fort Worth."
Angelo's has become world-famous, and the cozy atmosphere is part of the reason. On first sight, the White Settlement location stands out from other Westside restaurants with its exterior wood paneling and unassuming structure. Once inside, the place is like a hunting lodge filled with friends. Trophies, such as bears, deers, elks, caribous, exotic displays of fish and a buffalo garnered from the George’s hunting and fishing trips greet visitors along with the smell of hickory smoked meat that fill the dining rooms.
The restaurant has been documented thoroughly by nearly every food critic in the region and some nationwide, including publications such as American Way, Texas Monthly, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Dallas Morning News, Texas Highways, Chile Pepper Magazine, Esquire, Home and Garden, Southern Living, the New York Times, Gourmet Magazine and others, many of which have bestowed on it a long list of accolades. Angelo’s was even featured on "FoodNation with Bobby Flay" in June of 2003.
Rave reviews from food critics and other praises such as “best barbeque” and "coldest beer," are only topped by the hundreds of customers who come in each day.
It's a big honor to be considered among the country's best barbeque, Skeet said. "It's an even bigger honor to see so many loyal customers coming in day after day."
Skeet’s son, Jason, is also an integral part of the family business — he’s the pit master in charge of cooking the meats. He was mentored on the delicate processes and recipes by his grandfather, who only used hickory and developed special dry-rub recipes (now available at Albertsons, Minyard, Kroger, Brookshire's and Sack 'N Save). By the end of 2008, the Georges will also make it available on their Web site.
"The rubs are a unique combination of herbs and spices that give our meats the one-of-a kind flavor," Jason said. "We wanted to make our dry rub tradition available to anyone."
While the meat deserves the spotlight, the frosty cold beer and great service are essential components to Angelo's success. The waitresses will usually have a regular customer’s beer in hand before they get to their table and it is always served super-cold and in a frozen glass. And regular customers aren't always so regular – a variety of local and international celebrities have been known to get hooked on the smoky flavor of Angelo's ribs and brisket. One in particular, former Neiman Marcus chairman Stanley Marcus, was known to have an affinity for Angelo’s. In honor of his 95th birthday, Skeet and Jason loaded up the supplies and catered a meal for his surprise birthday party.
In another instance of Angelo's being enjoyed outside the realm of west Fort Worth, Air Force pilots based at the nearby Carswell Air Force Base, distributed 1,000 pounds of their favorite barbeque at the Paris Air Show in France. The local base has always housed a loyal following.
Angelo's has always taken pride in being one of Fort Worth's most recognized restaurants. In 2005, when city officials traveled to New York City with a contingent of local attractions – from real live longhorns to NASCAR racers – Angelo's was invited along to help promote Fort Worth. With the cattle and cars on display in Times Square, Angelo's treated the public to its one-of-a-kind, down-home Texas barbeque.
Angelo's is also a takeout spot of choice for parties, family dinners, office functions and other gatherings. The aroma of the George family recipes brings you right back to the friendly surroundings that await, just like for the past 50 years, for the faithful line of customers that always show up.
When it comes to summing up such a vital part of Fort Worthians' eating rituals, a Texas Monthly review said it best. "Barbeque joints may come and go, but this one is here to stay. Angelo's, which has been around since 1958, has become the yardstick against which all newcomers are measured."