The legendary East Austin barbeque restaurant Sam’s Bar-B-Cue is having its business license revoked today following allegations the owners purchased meat stolen from H-E-B. Two other restaurants, La Morinita at 2944 East 12th St. and Willie’s BBQ at 4505 East Martin Luther King Blvd., are also being shut down.
One person affiliated with Sam’s, 57-year-old Brian Douglas Mays, has been arrested.
These people were also arrested:
- Willie Joe Showels with Willie's BBQ
- Tanya V. Showels with Willie’s BBQ
- Patrick Lee Showels with Willie’s BBQ
- Juan Rodriguez Montenergo with La Morinita
Austin police say it began “Operation Meat Locker” in late April when H-E-B reported that fresh meat was being stolen from the grocer on a large scale. Police say their three month investigation revealed that more than $5,000 in stolen merchandise was sold between the three locations.
An APD spokesman says people caught shoplifting told officers they were selling meat to those three restaurants. Undercover officers posing as meat thieves approached the proprietors and, police allege, sold the restaurants what the officers claimed was stolen meat. The undercover cops approached 20 to 25 other restaurants, all of which declined to buy the meat.
No one answered the phone at Sam’s when we called this afternoon.
Sam's Bar-B-Cue is a storied east side restaurant. The late guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughn is said to have played there for food before he became famous.
Here's what it looks like inside: