Named for 1836, the year Texas declared its independence, Outpost 36 serves barbecue, sides and signature cocktails with a Texas flair in Keller.

The menu focuses on Texas-style barbecue and the restaurant’s walls are covered in photos of iconic locations across the state with Texas country music playing in the background. Even the restaurant’s smokers, where the meat is prepared fresh every day, are named Willie and Waylon—after country singers Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings.

The backstory

College friends Jeff Lowery and Chris Polk teamed up with Chef Dwight Dowell to open Horizon 76 American Grill House in Keller in June 2020. Lowery and Polk decided on a concept they didn’t see anywhere else: a restaurant focused on America, its people, places and cuisine.

General Manager Trevor Wyatt said what allowed Horizon 76 to be successful was the owners’ focus on the local community and building a relationship with each guest. Horizon 76 doesn’t have an indoor space for private parties, so when the building across the street went up for sale, the Horizon 76 team jumped at the opportunity to expand.

“[The building] was an old Golden Corral,” Lowery said. “When COVID hit that put them out of business because it was buffet style.”

The team decided to purchase the building and turn it into Outpost 36. The restaurant opened its doors in July.

Must-try menu items

The menu features brisket, pork ribs, pulled pork, sausage and bacon burnt ends. Guests can enjoy a plate of meat with sides, or buy meat by the pound for large parties.

“It's craft barbecue,” Dowell said. “We use salt and pepper only. That's very Texas-traditional. We use post oak wood and a dry rub.”

The restaurant serves sides such as potato salad, fried okra, green beans and coleslaw. The dessert menu features banana pudding made with a recipe passed down through Lowery’s wife Leslie’s family.

The banana pudding is not the only family recipe on the menu. Polk’s wife Jennifer shared her family recipe for Outpost 36’s King Ranch Casserole, which is offered as a special every Thursday. The restaurant’s barbecue sauce is made with one of Wyatt’s family recipes.

The middle of the restaurant features a bar serving a Spicy Mango Margarita, A Smokehouse Sour, a Pitmaster Punch and local beers.

What makes it unique

Dowell did extensive research before the team opened the restaurant. He went to 27 of Texas’ top 50 barbecue restaurants. He said he tried menu items from each restaurant to create Outpost 36’s recipes based on the best of the best.

Dowell said he brought back the knowledge from the restaurants, re-created the recipes and found the best of every item on the menu. From there, the team set out to find an even better recipe for their brisket, potato salad, coleslaw and more.

Dowell said the team at Outpost 36 ensures the quality of the food by raising their own cattle and pigs on a ranch in Sulphur Springs.

“That makes a difference in the quality because we're not having to buy from the grocery store,” Dowell said. “We know how the animals have been treated, how they've been fed and how they've been aged.”

Outpost 36 also has private rooms guests can rent for free for parties or other events. Since opening, the restaurant has hosted many rehearsal dinners, anniversaries and business lunches.

“Without having private rooms at Horizon 76, this allows us to take care of even more people's rehearsal dinners and events,” Wyatt said.

Outpost 36 has received great support from the Keller community, Dowell said. Outpost 36 was voted Best Restaurant at the Keller Wine and Jazz festival this year.

Coming soon

The Outpost 36 team has plans to open a meat market at the front of the restaurant. This will allow guests to get the same quality of meat as the restaurant to cook with at home. Lowery said the plan is to open the meat market at the beginning of 2024.

Visit the restaurants

Outpost 36 is located at 1801 S Main St, Keller. For more information, visit their website at Horizon 76 American Grill House is located at 1821 S Main St., Keller. For more information, visit their website at

The above story was produced by Multi-Platform Journalist Mary Katherine Shapiro with Community Impact's Storytelling team with information solely provided by the local business as part of their "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team.