Robstown, Texas- It’s time for the Texas Bucket List Bite of the Week! When it comes to cruising down to the coastal bend for a bite to eat, fried chicken isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, in the small town of Robstown, population 11,517, sits a small red shack letting folks know that with one bite….they gotcha!
“We come out here at least once a week to come out and eat this chicken,” Michael Verdin said.
Since 1978, Barrera’s has been busting out a crispy, crunchy craving on the corner of Avenue A and 3rd Street.
“We’ve always been word of mouth,” Rene Barrera said. “We never advertised.”
Rene Barrera is the third generation of Barrera boys running the chicken shack. Demand is high, so Rene’s pace is faster than a foul trying to outrun the fryer. Started by his Grandfather Gregorio in ‘78, Rene took over the business from his father in 2016 and continues their time-honored tradition of poultry cooked to perfection.
“It’s an honor from my grandfather,” Rene said. “I promised my dad to tell you the truth. It says in Spanish, ‘No dejes la bandera’, don’t drop the flag, translated. So keep the flag going. The town’s always supported me. It’s a great town. I plan on expanding, but I can’t leave Robstown.”
The frying comes at a frantic pace. Eight and half hours a day, six days a week Rene cuts, seasons, and fries up over 300 pounds of chicken.
“Tired does not exist in the Barrera family vocabulary,” Rene said. “You get a one-hour lecture from my grandma if she hears you even say ‘I’m tired.’”
So, what is it that makes Barrera’s Fried Chicken so sought after? It starts with slicing chicken and ends with some spice.
“Yes. Then the milk and the flour and put it in the fryer,” Rene said. “I just do it by eye. No timer. I just do it by eye. Eye and touch.”
Add homemade yellow gravy and the incredibly popular chicken livers and gizzards, and you’ve got the mix that people go mad over.
“I just lick my fingers,” Rosie Rios said. “I don’t know what it is, how do they make it, but it’s awesome. Talking about it is one thing, but eating is another.”
40 years of flavorful chicken and family history. Barrera’s Fried Chicken in Robstown is well worth a stop on the Texas Bucket List.
“I think it’s just something everyone deserves to try just one time,” Michael said.