Killen's BBQ: From school cafeteria to national BBQ icon

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This week, we're featuring Killen's BBQ as our Cool Space.

PEARLAND, TX (KTRK) -- What was once Pearland's first school cafeteria in the 1950's is today one of the most popular BBQ restaurants in the nation.

For Owner and Executive Chef Ronnie Killen, it's personal.

"The building has history. It means something to me," Killen told ABC13. "And it means something to the people of Pearland."

Killen is a native Texan, was born in Victoria, and his family moved to Pearland when he was in the third grade.

Killen's BBQ is directly across the street from his old high school, now Pearland Junior High. He remembers his senior year in high school working as a student aid in the administrative office (where his brick pit now sits) gluing pads of detention and hall passes for teachers.

Because of the history, Killen says tearing down the building was not an option. Instead, he chose to incorporate his childhood memories into the restaurant. From the original beams to the stainless steel cafeteria line, the entire restaurant has a 1950s school cafeteria-style cool design.

The walls are covered with black and white photos of Pearland students in the 50s and 60s at the original school cafeteria.

Killen's BBQ first opened its doors to a long line of enthusiastic meat-lover's in February 2014, and there has been long lines of customers ever since.

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RECIPE: Killen's Bone-in ribeye

RECIPE: Killen's famous brisket