Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Kirby's Pig Stand No. 4

 Pig Stands began as a Dallas institution in the early 1920s. Owner J. G. Kirby said, "Give a little pig a chance and it will make a hog of itself," and he proceeded to grow his business in the same way. By 1925 there were more than 30 Pig Stands under franchise in Texas,  at least one in  Los Angeles, CA, and in 1927 New York got its very own Kirby's "Pig Sandwich".
It isn't clear what happened to all those Pig Stands. From the beginning, at least in Dallas, they were easy targets for thieves. From old news accounts it appears a Pig Stand burglary or robbery was an almost weekly occurrence. When gas was rationed during World War II the Pig Stands saw a decline in business. By the end of the war there were probably only a few Stands left in Dallas.
Pig Stand No. 4 survived. In 1933 J.G.'s son,  B.J., started working for his dad at the Pig Stand on 3715 Greenville Avenue, and in 1954 he opened his own eatery, Kirby's Charcoal Steaks at the site that had housed the Pig Stand. 

B.J. Kirby ran his steakhouse in that same spot until 1987 when he closed the business and retired. The building on Greenville is now home to Gloria's Restaurant, but B.J.'s retirement wasn't the end of Kirby's. The restaurant's name and recipes were sold to investors, and a new Kirby's Charcoal Steaks opened in 1995 at 3525 Greenville, not so far from the original Pig Stand No. 4.  Today it is an upscale eatery called Woodfire Kirby's.