Neighborhood joint Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew honors history, serves customers from near and far

Emma FreerCommunity Impact Newspaper
Emma FreerCommunity Impact Newspaper

Emma FreerCommunity Impact Newspaper

Image description
Stiles Switch General Manager Duane Jackson slices brisket behind the counter. It is smoked in oak and coated with black pepper. Emma Freer/Community Impact Newspaper
Image description
Stiles Switch General Manager Duane Jackson, center, stands behind the counter with his staff. He grew up in Tyler, Texas, along with owner Shane Stiles. Emma Freer/Community Impact Newspaper
At the forefront of the retro Violet Crown Shopping Center in North Central Austin is a barbecue joint called Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew. It opened in 2011, but the local restaurant feels much older.

Perhaps it is the Motown music playing on the speakers or the cinderblock interior. Or it may be the nods to local history.

Named for a 19th-century Central Texas railroad station near cattle stock pens in Williamson County called Stiles Switch, as well as for owner Shane Stiles, the restaurant serves meats smoked in oak and coated with black pepper.

“It’s the style of barbecue we grew up on,” General Manager Duane Jackson said.

Jackson said he has known Stiles “for as long as I can remember.”


When Stiles, a native of Taylor, got the idea to open the restaurant, Jackson left his job in the insurance industry to join the business.

“I was like, ‘Take me with you, please,’” Jackson said.

Stiles Switch opened in 2011, when few other barbecue places could be found in North Central Austin.

“I think we’ve established ourselves as one of the mainstays,” Jackson said.•Today, the restaurant serves customers from all over Austin—and beyond. •“We get people from all over the world who come here to eat barbecue,” Jackson said, adding that he can always spot a first-time customer by the wide-eyed look in their eyes.

The most popular items on the menu are the fatty, black pepper-encrusted brisket and the pork ribs, but Jackson said the best thing on the menu is the beef ribs.

During the holiday season, the restaurant also serves off-menu specials during an event called the 12 Smoked Meats of Christmas.

House-made sides, desserts and craft beer on tap are available at Stiles year-round.

Customers can also find Stiles barbecue at The Switch BBQ, which opened in Dripping Springs in 2018 in Belterra Village, located just off of Hwy. 290.

When asked if he ever gets tired of barbecue, Jackson said: “I try. It hasn’t worked yet.”
By Emma Freer
Emma Freer began covering Central Austin for Community Impact Newspaper in 2017. Her beat includes the Travis County Commissioners Court and local business news. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School in 2017.


MOST RECENT

Gov. Greg Abbott
Gov. Greg Abbott: Texans must wear masks in public starting July 3

"COVID-19 is not going way," Gov. Abbott said. "In fact, it is getting worse."

Man looking at plants in a greenhouse garden store
Garden Seventeen opens its doors in North Central Austin

The new greenhouse and garden store comes from Native Edge Landscape owner Rodney Stoutenger.

Episcopal Health Foundation
Survey: Texans support emphasis on improving economy, safety, pollution to address overall health

“COVID-19 is clearly showing what Texans already know: the state needs to address underlying, non-medical conditions that have a dramatic impact on their health,” Episcopal Health Foundation President and CEO Elena Marks said.

Try Hard Coffee shop
Try Hard Coffee now open in East Austin

The new spot is serving coffee, pastries and tacos on its outdoor patio as construction work continues inside.

In the course of a month, the number of patients admitted to the hospital due to COVID-19 has increased more than fivefold, according to Austin Public Health data. (Design by Shelby Savage/Community Impact Newspaper)
Deluge of new COVID-19 cases forces Austin-area health officials to limit testing, shift tracing strategy

Fighting antiquated fax machines and a sharp rise in the demand for testing, officials said contact tracers are not able to get in touch with residents quickly enough to prevent the spread of the virus.

CommunityCare Health Centers drive-up coronavirus testing site
CommUnityCare will no longer test asymptomatic people for COVID-19 as testing demand swells

CommUnityCare Health Centers is now only testing individuals who show symptoms, those who have a known exposure to the coronavirus or those with other existing health conditions.

The H-E-B Austin Symphony July 4th Concert & Fireworks will not take place this year due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. (Courtesy Ricardo Brazziel)
Read the latest on 4th of July celebrations in Central Texas

Area cities have canceled or modified their Independence Day events.

City officials are working to contain a recent surge in the spread of the coronavirus. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin shuts down main greenbelts, all programs and amenities through July; parks, trails will remain open

City officials are working to contain a recent surge in the spread of the coronavirus.

There have been more than 10,000 total coronavirus cases in Travis County as of July 1. (Community Impact Staff)
Travis County adds 597 new coronavirus cases July 1

There have been more than 10,000 total coronavirus cases in Travis County as of July 1.

The H-E-B Austin Symphony July 4th Concert & Fireworks will not take place this year due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. (Courtesy Ricardo Brazziel)
What to know this Fourth of July weekend in Central Austin

"We cannot afford missteps right now, not this weekend," said Dr. Mark Escott, Austin-Travis County interim health authority.

Money stock art
Comptroller: Texas June sales tax revenue totaled $2.7 billion, down 6.5% from a year ago

The Texas comptroller's office has released June sales tax revenue figures.

Dell Seton Medical Center is located at 1500 Red River St. in Austin. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)
MAP: Hospitals in the city of Austin

Community Impact Newspaper's annual Health Care Edition includes a resource for readers with information on the hospitals located within the city of Austin.