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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

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Pat Mares

Pat Mares was born in 1951 in Schuyler, Nebraska.  After working in food most of her life, Pat and her husband, Luke Zimmermann, opened Ruby’s BBQ in 1988, just north of the University of Texas at Austin campus on the edge of the Hyde Park neighborhood.  From the restaurant’s early days to the present, Ruby’s BBQ has been deeply entwined with the Austin music scene.  The presence of Antone’s blues club next door was key to their choice of location; though Antone’s eventually moved downtown, the Ruby’s dining room still keeps blues music playing on the stereo, and their food fuels the performances of many local and touring musicians.  Pat and Luke also cater to the diverse neighborhood and university crowds; one of their signatures is their all-natural beef brisket, and they serve chopped beef sandwiches, which are favorites of students on a budget.

Date of interview:
2007-06-19 00:00

Lisa Powell

Lisa Powell

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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