Aunt Pookies Barbecue and Grill has been serving Houston area diners for more than 40 years, but it wasn’t until Elias Audi bought the business in 1982 that mouth-watering barbecue debuted on the menu.Back in 1968, the restaurant got its start as Aunt Pookies Old Sandwich Factory, featuring hamburgers and po-boys. Audi’s family emigrated from Jerusalem the following year, and his father managed convenience stores until he was fatally shot during a robbery. Elias took over the family business, but ultimately decided to make a career change and bought Aunt Pookies from Donnie Burch. He and his mother, Aroussika Audi, worked hard at building their new restaurant business together, and when he married in 1998, his wife Suha joined them.

Currently, Aunt Pookies is open for breakfast and lunch only, and caters family value packs that serve up to 100 people. Today, the burgers and the barbecue are popular with workers from the predominately industrial sector along Sam Houston Parkway. Barbecue-stuffed potatoes are also a big seller, Audi said.

Since Houston’s first official cool snap in mid-October, Audi said the restaurant’s patio seating has become more popular. Last fall, Aunt Pookies was also featured on KPRC-TV Channel 2 after receiving an A+ rating from the Houston Health Department––an honor not every restaurant can boast about. :: 1450 West Sam Houston Pkwy North | 713.722.9993

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