Nationally famous Thelma's Bar B Que at 1020 Live Oak closed due to a fire. The front of the business appeared as ramshackle as always, but a sign on the door announced the bad news. The rear of the building where the barbecue pit used to be was badly damaged as was the kitchen area. The old-fashioned cinderblock barbecue pit used at Thelma's had a small metal door on the outside where the wood was loaded and a grate with a steel door inside the building where the meats were cooked. The fire appears to have originated in the fire box or chimney as that part of the building has been torn away. The fire reportedly happened last Friday.
Thelma's was first reviewed in the Houston Press in July of 2002
and thereafter achieved national noteriety when the restaurant's brisket sandwich was featured in a 2002 PBS documentary called Sandwiches You Will Like. Thelma's has been featured in the pages of Texas Monthly and in Steven Raichlen's book on regional American barbecue, BBQ USA. There has been no word yet on the extent of the damage or plans for rebuilding.