Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
May 28, 2009 11:00 AM

The Swinging Door Texas BBQ Re-openned

I took an alternate route to work today across Vanowen from Burbank and noticed a sign posted outside, "Now open". I have never been, but remember there being some good reviews on here. So, if you've been missing their Q, it looks like they're back. Anyone that gets a chance to try it before I do please post your experience; also, if you'd care to post some past experiences here for reference that would be cool, too. Name is still the same, I cannot confirm same ownership.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I was just deciding where I would have lunch today, when you helped me make up my mind. It used to be my favorite BBQ in the Valley (that was before Kansas City BBQ on Magnolia).

    I will report back (maybe as soon as the end of the day).

    1 Reply
    1. re: maxzook

      RIGHT behind you, maxzook. If you get there first and survive, let us know?

    2. It's as if it never closed. Got out of the car, and the smoke hit me.

      Same menu, same (non-existent) parking and (non-existent) decor. Recognized the guy behind the counter who I think is the owner. He said it re-opened yesterday.

      The brisket is still to die for. The sauce -- vinegary and spicy with a touch of molasses, not corn-syrup sweet. Didn't have time for ribs but you bet I'll be going back real soon for dinner.

      IMHO, Kansas City BBQ has gone a little downhill since the move to Magnolia, Swinging Door has them beat on ribs and hot links even at their best. With the qualified exception of Boneyard Bistro (and at a small fraction of the price), the best BBQ in the Valley is back!!!!

      The Swinging Door Texas BBQ
      11018 Vanowen St, North Hollywood, CA 91606

      5 Replies
      1. re: maxzook

        Sweet, I was bummed that I never got to try it before and now I'll get a chance to partake. Thanks for the quick report back.

        1. re: maxzook

          Good to know, Max. I'll be heading in that direction ASAP.

          1. re: Steve2 in LA

            Well, this was as ASAP as I could manage (5 days later) but CB and I went there for lunch today.

            The joint has changed very little since the previous iteration. Parking options are still spare (5 spaces in front) although at 1:30, we were able to drive right in. The interior is a little brighter, a little cleaner but (sadly) sans that "free-basket-of-peanuts-while-you-wait" the first incarnation offered. ( I did loves me some free peanuts.)

            We ordered the 4 Meat Combo Plate with Beef Ribs, Baby-Back Ribs, Brisket, Tri-Tip, Baked Beans, Red-Potato Salad, Coleslaw and Onion Rings (ONION RINGS!) We were also provided the mild and spicy BBQ sauces but (and I can't stress this enough) GET THEM ON THE SIDE! The default method of serving is to pre-sauce.

            I thought the ribs and beef were definitely fit t'eat. Ribs had proper resistance to the bone, meats were tender, smoky, moist and flavorful. The baked beans were also good. Not like those at Kansas City BBQ Co. (where, in my humble opinion, are found the best baked beans in the world) but a close second. The rings were hot and fresh (but I suspect, frozen) the slaw and potato salad pleasant, albeit unremarkable, representatives of their idiom. (in other words, "they did not suck.") The mild sauce is curiously seasoned with horseradish, which I didn't much care for but the spicy version is a definite winner. Although not particularly spicy to us capsaicin addicts, still tasty enough that I'd order it again in a heartbeat.

            The server who took our order couldn't have been friendlier and while waiting, I chatted up the new owner/manager/chef (who had been the cook during the previous administration.) He 'splained they were continuing menu expansion and looking for better beef rib and sausage suppliers. He then generously threw in a complimentary sausage for the tastin'. It was a good sized, smoked sausage made even tastier by the price. Note to the new management: I wouldn't complain if you could find it in your heart to put some pulled-pork on that menu .

            The restaurant, under its new management, is clearly just getting into gear Take-out menus aren't ready, the phone number on the awning and web-page are incorrect (the correct number is [818] 763 8989) new advertising hasn't broken and they don't actually "own" the web page. Seems that the previous owner still has possession and for reasons I can't imagine, is loathe to give it up. I've no doubt these issues will be rectified in the coming weeks.

            Personally, I'll be back and I'd recommend giving it a try.

            1. re: Steve2 in LA

              Funny, I had to ask for sauce on the side of my brisket sandwich which wasn't sauced at all, but I put that down to second-day jitters. I prefer it that way, anyway.

              Hadn't realized the place was under new management -- I recognized the chef and assumed otherwise. As of this morning, the old website is down; I hadn't realized the phone number had changed. And I'd forgotten about the free peanuts.

          2. Cue opposing reactions ("worst I've ever had", "way overrated", "rude staff") in

            (By way of explanation, go back and look at previous posts on the Swinging Door. It had lots of adherents, and just as many who loathed it. I thought it was pretty okay, and will be going by if I'm in the neighborhood.)