Thanks to Piedmont Brewery & Kitchen and Ocmulgee Brewpub, downtown Macon has positioned itself into the now-booming craft beer industry that is spreading throughout the nation. But before Piedmont or Ocmulgee, there was Texas Cattle Co., Macon's first brewpub to open since prohibition. From its celebrity patrons to its perseverance through the years, here are 5 things you might not know about Texas Border Grill.
1. Texas Cattle Co. Was Only a Few Months Shy of Being the First Brewpub in Georgia
Texas Cattle Company was opened by Bruce Ibs, Bruce Boetcher and Carol Powers in 1988 at 2480 Riverside Drive. With an electric atmosphere and a bar that was opened late every night, Texas Cattle Company was the go-to place for a long list of Nowhere-Else-But-Here-Specials such as Wok-This-Way, Super Nachos and their World Famous wings. After just 6 years in business and the approaching 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, principle owner Bruce Ibs made the commitment to build the first brewpub in Georgia since prohibition. With laws not yet through the legislation, Ibs ordered equipment through a Canadian Brewery and began remodeling the restaurant and installed a 14 barrel brewery, roughly 4500 gallons per batch, in January of 1994.
2. Texas Cattle Co. was the First Restaurant To Serve Macon After the Flood
Shortly after Texas Cattle Co. had completed its remodel and began brewing beer, Tropical Storm Alberto, the first tropical storm of the 1994 Atlantic Hurricane season arrived. Having moved slowly north across the Florida panhandle, Alberto tracked slowly north until it stalled out in Macon on July 5th and brought a deluge of rain. Located just a stone’s throw east of the restaurant, the Ocmulgee River crested at 35.4 feet, completely cutting off Macon and severing all roads in and out of the city. Over 4 feet of muddy river water flowed into Texas Cattle Co. and other businesses up and down Riverside Drive. Despite the devastation brought on by the flood, Texas Cattle Co. rebuilt the restaurant in 7 days. On the 8th day Texas Cattle Co. was the first restaurant in Macon to serve food after the flood; albeit food was served on paper plates with disposable cutlery and canned tea.
3. Texas Cattle Co. Played Host to Many Locals and Celebrities Alike
Through the years, TCC served and played host to many locals and celebrities alike. Musicians such as Gregg Allman, Little Richard, and Trisha Yearwood dined at TCC while other notable figures Thelma Redding, Chipper Jones and Hershel Walker dined at the restaurant. Unique characters such as Jimmy Swaggart, David Bluesky and three un-named lost Irish lawmen on their way to Savannah (who were to be honorary marshals) for the St. Patrick’s Day parade made dinner stops at TCC. In 1994, after an appearance at a fund raiser for flood victims, TCC opened their Warner Robins location at 3am for Toby Keith to celebrate his first gold record.
4. The Original Brewing Tanks From Texas Cattle Co. Now Reside in Charleston, SC
In September 2006, following the death of Texas Cattle Co.’s principle owner Bruce Ibs, Texas Cattle Co. closed their doors after 18 years in business. The original brewery tanks from Texas Cattle Co. were sold and are now in use at Coast Brewing in Charleston, South Carolina. Two years after Texas Cattle Co. closed, an excavator was brought in and the building at 2480 Riverside was demolished. After the structure was razed, Ibs’ longtime friend and employee Mark Coley, began the search with his wife Renee for other locations in hopes of returning to his independent restaurateur roots as sole proprietors of an upscale steakhouse. Within a year, Coley and his wife secured the perfect location in 2009 for their new restaurant on Houston Road. They were “absolutely sure about everything, except the name.”
5. Texas Cattle Co. Reemerges and Rebrands Itself
After signing a lease and beginning to build out his new nameless restaurant, Coley happened to drive by Webb Waste Co. (Columbus Rd) and noticed something very familiar. There at Webb’s Waste Co. stood the original Texas Cattle Co. road sign from the original restaurant on Riverside Drive, which had been in storage at Webb's since the restaurant closed. Still without a name for his new restaurant, Coley met with attorneys to see if the Texas Cattle Co. name was unregistered in Georgia-and it was not. After Coley placed an ad of intent for the restaurant’s alcohol license, a family friend who was using the Telegraph to soak up the grease from his fried fish saw the advertisement and stopped by the restaurant and offered Coley the Texas Cattle Co. memorabilia that he had been storing for the Ibs family since the restaurant closed. The new location was built out in 5 weeks and Coley opened as Texas Cattle Co. on May 19, 2009. Many entrees from the original Texas Cattle Co. were updated and other items were added to liven up the menu. Coley’s restaurant focused on FRESH products, hand carved beef, seafood and seasonal favorites in order to separate itself from the big chain restaurants that over-process their food, emphasizing price over quality. In 2014, after 5 successful years in business, Coley decided to rebrand the restaurant as the Texas Border Grill which better represented the variety of entrees and the cooking techniques used by his culinary team.
posted 09/26/2017 in