Douglas Bar and Grill Owner Puts Family First

Doug Pickering closed the doors of Snider Plaza’s Douglas Bar and Grill March 30, not because the restaurant was failing, but because its success wasn’t what mattered most.

“It was a tough decision to make, but at the end of the day, I had to choose my family over my business,” Pickering said. “You can always make money back, but you can’t get time back.”

The restaurant, Pickering explained, was taking him away too much from his wife, Amanda, and their three children, ages 4, 2, and 1. He has owed Amanda a vacation since they were married seven years ago and had to cut their honeymoon short so he could get back to work.

The Douglas has been a learning experience in restaurant ownership for Pickering, who’s had to balance everything from staff management to building repairs. 

Snider Plaza’s parking crunch has only made the business more challenging. At the start of this year, the Douglas closed for lunch Monday through Thursday because customers couldn’t find parking spots. 

“Every lunch service, it was like rolling the dice,” Pickering said. “We would have people make lunch reservations that couldn’t find a parking spot, and they would cancel.”

The city’s Hilltop parking garage has helped businesses in the southern part of Snider Plaza, but it’s not been as useful for restaurants north of Milton Avenue, whose customers may be reluctant to walk far in summer heat. Pickering expects Snider Plaza’s parking woes to get worse before they get better due to the increasing number of restaurants and the city’s planned improvements to the shopping area.

“I feel bad for some of the local businesses there that are family-owned,” he said. “I hope that they have the ways and means to get through all of that.”

Pickering and his wife Amanda both grew up in the Park Cities. After Pickering graduated from SMU in 2001, he worked in investment banking in California, then for a Dallas-area hedge fund.

Cooking barbecue was Pickering’s hobby, and initially, he told friends they were crazy for suggesting he open a restaurant. Pickering started his catering business in 2012 with a food blog and a single backyard Big Green Egg, where he cooked up one brisket at a time. Business picked up quickly. He added another Green Egg, then one more, before finally buying a custom smoker.

“When you do something that makes people happy, and you can also make a living doing it, it’s a win-win type situation,” Pickering said.

Pickering began selling barbecue out of a Deep Ellum sports bar. He worked as a caterer before starting Ferris Wheelers in 2016, where he is still a part owner. He opened Douglas Bar and Grill in May 2022, knowing that with the closure of Peggy Sue, the Park Cities was missing a barbecue restaurant.

Though Pickering intended for the Douglas to be a core barbecue restaurant, it adapted to become an eatery that did a little of everything. The steaks and sweet and smoky salmon with a honey glaze became top sellers. Pickering’s “never fail recommendation” was the Douglas burger, which included barbecue sauce, homemade pimento cheese, and brisket. 

“I’m proud that we served in the neighborhood for two years, and we made a lot more people happy than we did mad, and that’s the goal,” he said.

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One thought on “Douglas Bar and Grill Owner Puts Family First

  • May 1, 2024 at 2:26 pm

    Somebody should purchase the land on the south side of Snider Plaza owned by Coats Custom Homes – turn it into a parking lot with a shuttle service with various stops in Snider Plaza or a direct run – all for a fee. A parking solution with help all merchants in Snider Plaza.


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