SAN ANTONIO - When you think of San Antonio staples, Bill Miller Bar-B-Q is sure to come to mind.
When downtown, you can’t miss the smell of barbecue in the air and if your nose can’t lead you to the commissary where it’s all made, then their water tower can.
The history of Bill Miller Bar-B-Q starts back in 1953 with Bill and Ila Faye Miller when the two opened their first restaurant which still operates today.
“They served hamburgers and fried chicken at first and then they added barbecue later," Bill Miller Bar-B-Q, President/CEO, Jim Guy Egbert said.
The Millers both have since passed, but in a rare interview shot before Bill Miller’s death in 1995, you understand their passion for their product.
“It was just kind of in my blood to cook barbecue. I was just always fascinated with it. So we started and it went from nothing to today," Bill said in the 1995 interview.
"It was fun and it was hard work. It was long hours," Ila Faye said in the 1995 interview.
“They operated that as husband and wife and they’re boys [and daughter] who were young at the time grew into the business," Egbert said.
Today the company has expanded to more than 60 restaurants across San Antonio and as far out as Austin and Corpus Christi.
“The products that we serve today are the same thing that we serve back then," Egbert said.
The restaurant still uses large wood burning smokers to cook their meats and the same family recipes that have kept generations of families coming back for more.
"The business model for Bill Miller has always been quality, consistency, and value. It attracts all walks of life when you do that," Egbert said.
"We have prices that are reasonable that the working man can afford,” Bill said in the 1995 interview. “We have a quality that the mayor is satisfied with."
Their children, joined now by third and fourth generation Millers, are still ensuring their barbecue holds up to the family’s expectations.
"They all are,” Egbert said. “They all eat at our stores every day and so they’re checking things just like we want them to. To make sure we are doing right."
A legacy Ila Faye and Bill would be proud of.
"I would like for my children to continue to work together in harmony,” Ila Faye said in the 1995 interview. “I hope that they will continue to contribute of themselves over the years because if you give to others than your cup runneth over.”