Hill Country was born old. The day it opened, its walls and air vents had been painstakingly smoked-stained, and its floors distressed to look as if 10,000 gluttons had waddled across it over the years. But the pits were brand-new. Not so anymore: After one summer of operation, they’re now signed with the regards of dozens of chefs, politicians, celebrities, and members of the barbecue underground.
Highlights include a sated Drew Nieporent, “Still licking my lips!” (We guess it was a day off from his diet); “Amazing,” and a drawn heart, from “Momofuku Crew” (really, David Chang); “Pelaccio loves the Richter ’Cue!” and the two most effusive of all the quotes, from two of the biggest eaters: “the peak, the acme, the zenith, the apogee, totally supreme,” left by a very happy, and slightly lit, Jeffrey Steingarten, and “Texas on the Hudson. This is my new home! Where is my room?” by a well-fed Mario Batali. Typically, after a big meal, VIPs are brought back and handed a piece of chalk. If it doesn’t slip out of their well-greased hands, they sign one of the three huge smokers, pitmaster Robbie Richter tell us. “We’re honored that they come in, and so we want to honor them by having them sign the pits.”