Fort Worth's Riscky's BBQ celebrates 90 years in business

Riscky's BBQ in Fort Worth
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FORT WORTH, Texas -- Research said the median lifespan of a restaurant is less than five years. No one must have ever mentioned that to the owners of Riscky's BBQ.

"It's been a glorious 90 years," said owner and operator, Eddie Sullivan.

Indeed, the Fort Worth institution has beaten the odds 18 times over. This year is the 90th in business. "It's one of the oldest establishments in Fort Worth," Sullivan said. 

Sullivan said the business started with humble roots. Joe and Mary Riscky immigrated from Poland in 1911 and began their family business in Fort Worth. Their original location was on the north side of town on Azle Avenue. It started as a grocery store in 1927.

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"They started serving sandwiches out the back, where the meat counter was. And they came up with a recipe to make a chopped beef sandwich," Sullivan said.

As the decades pressed on, the sandwich remained popular, and Riscky's grew from one family restaurant to eight. Sullivan says they're up to one million pounds of meat per year now.

They're celebrating this week by selling the chopped beef sandwiches that made them famous for just 90 cents.

People came for those sandwiches Tuesday night, but also came for the nostalgia and tradition.

"Our grandparents, our parents used to come here," said Bianca Becerra.

"It's amazing because it's very rare these days for a restaurant to be open for that many years," said longtime customer Nancy Reyna.

Sullivan said the key to their longevity has been good food, good service and not forgetting the example Joe and Mary Riscky set back in 1927.

"That’s what they call the American dream," he said.