HISTORY OF C. B. "STUBB"
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Christopher B. "Stubb"
Stubblefield, Sr. was born in Navasota, Texas, March 7, 1934, as one of twelve children,
and later in the 1930's his family moved to Lubbock to pick cotton, the staple
agricultural product of the area. Later Stubb learned to cook by working in local
restaurants and hotels.
As a young man Stubb left Lubbock and joined the United States Army to serve in the Korean
war, becoming part of the 96th Field Artillery, the last all-black Army infantry unit.
Stubb served as a gunner and was a respected leader among the men. It was in the army that
Stubb became a cook. He oversaw the cooking of daily meals for as many as 10,000 soldiers,
and legend has it Stubb fixed a batch of chili
on the hot exhaust pipe of an Army tank. Foreshadowing his future, Stubb played popular
records and broadcast them on the field radio for his Army buddies to listen to in the
In 1968, Stubb opened the original 75 seat Stubb's Bar-B-Q Restaurant in a small,
ramshackle building at 108 East Broadway, just across the street from the South Plains
Fairgrounds. The jukebox was filled with vintage Blues music, the same music that once
inspired Buddy Holly. Owing as much to Stubb's warm expansive smile as to his barbecue
cooking skills, Stubb's restaurant quickly became the center of Lubbock's rich musical
community. Throughout the 1970's and 1980's the Sunday Jam Sessions became as legendary as
the barbecue. Tom T. Hall's song, "The Great East Broadway Onion Championship,"
was written about an early-morning pool game between Tom and Joe Ely in which an onion
from Stubb's kitchen was employed as the cue ball.
The list of musicians who found a home, and often a hot meal, at Stubb's reads like a
"Who's Who" of West Texas music. Stubb's patrons were treated to the best
musicians our area had to offer, among them Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock,
Jesse Taylor, the Maines Brothers, Tommy Hancock, and Terry Allen. Other musicians around
the nation, and around the world, learned about Stubb's place, and they began to frequent
108 East Broadway as well, folks like Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Johnny Cash, Hank
Snow, Roy Acuff, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Robert Cray, the Fabulous Thunderbirds,
and George Thorogood, among others. By the early 1990's Stubb's fame had propelled him to
some unlikely places, such as cooking for David Letterman on his national television talk
show, and cooking for the 1993 U.S. Open Tennis Tournament.
Unfortunately, Stubb's pocketbook was never as big as his heart, and his exceedingly
generous nature ultimately led to the demise of his restaurant business in 1984. After
Stubb left Lubbock to try to re-create 108 East Broadway in bigger, and ostensibly better,
markets, first Austin, then Dallas, the original building was demolished. All that remains
of that warm, wonderful place is the concrete slab foundation.
In Austin, Stubb first started serving barbecue at Antone's, the legendary blues house.
Later, Stubb opened his own restaurant in Austin, and kept up the long-standing tradition
of an open stage on Sunday nights. Eventually Stubb decided to close the Austin
restaurant, creating much sadness in the local restaurant and music community.
Stubb later lent his name and expertise to a group of investors who purchased a piece of
property at 801 Red River in Austin. The property was an eyesore at the time, and Stubb
upon looking at the rundown mess said "This must be Hell's half-acre!" Built in
1850, the building had been abandoned since its days as the One Knight, a night club which
first gave a stage to Texas rhythm and blues stars such as Paul Ray, Angela Strehli,
Marcia Ball, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan. Since he had
helped many of the same musicians in earlier years, Stubb thought this was a sign.
Stubb died May 27, 1995, before the new restaurant opened in April of 1996, and was buried
in Lubbock. The church where his funeral was held was standing-room only, and represented
there was about as diverse a funeral crowd as Lubbock is likely to ever witness, for color
meant nothing to Stubb when it came to making friends. Joe Ely, Terry Allen, and Jesse
Taylor all spoke at the funeral, singing a chorus of Amazing Grace to their fallen
comrade. Stubb's name lives on at two restaurants in Austin and in Lubbock; in a line of
food products distributed by the East Broadway Q Corporation of Austin, and a special fund
called Stubb's "Feed the World" fund established at the South Plains Food Bank
in memory of Stubb. The Food Bank was one of Stubb's favorite charities because they
shared his vision of feeding hungry people all across the world. Stubb would have liked to
have kept feeding people. Many people across the world will remember eating a meal in that
little shack on East Broadway, right here in Lubbock, back when the magic was on stage,
and Stubb was master of his house--he was so much more than just a cook.