"I’m lucky that my dad and I have the same foot size,” says Levi Goode on his truck’s speakerphone as he drives from his test kitchen in Stafford toward his soon-to-open new seafood spot in Memorial. “He’s passed down a lot of his boots to me over the years.” But it’s fair to say Goode’s dad, Jim, who opened his first barbecue joint off of Kirby in 1977, passed down more than his foot size. The father and son share a strong taste for all things good in food and, perhaps surprisingly, fashion and antiques. “There’s not really one place I go,” Goode says of his lifelong love of hunting for old Americana and Western duds and decor. “Auctions throughout the Southwest... Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming.” Houstonians can spot his recent acquisition, a 1968 Airstream trailer-turned-mobile bar called Yonderlust, parked at some of the best parties in town. “I tracked that down in Oregon, of all places!” he says, adding that it was far from its now-sparkling self when he found it. “I have completely redone it, and now we are hitching it up and taking it everywhere.” Something else he keeps an eye out for? Boots. “Over the years, I have built a network of folks who buy and trade vintage boots,” he shares carefully. “They’re always gathering boots. If they find something unique in my size, they give me a call.” His favorite vintage pair didn’t come from his dealers, though; they came from his dad. “He gave me a 1940s style called ‘shorties’ from Little’s Boot Company in San Antonio,” Goode says fondly. And their life before him shows: “The heel is cut in pretty good on them.”
Goode’s collection includes (from left): M.L. Leddy’s custom boots, Fort Worth Stockyards; 1940s Stewart Boot Co. black-and-white shorties, Mexico; “Lucky” custom boots by Rocket Buster Boots, El Paso; Goode Co. custom boot by Little’s Boot Co., San Antonio; “Aces” custom boots by Rocket Buster Boots, El Paso; “LG” custom boots by J.B. Hill Boot Co., El Paso; “Cowgirls and Indians” custom boots by Rocket Buster Boots, El Paso; “Lil Longhorns” by Little Boot Co., San Antonio.
Little’s Boot Company has been his family’s go-to bootmaker for generations. “It’s where I get my fancier boots,” Goode says of the cowboy cobbler that’s been crafting custom boots since 1915. Of his preferred style, he says: “I like a lot of inlays and going crazy on the tops. One of my wilder, crazier pairs has four aces on the front and dice on the back— Vegas style!” While most of Goode’s boots are vintage or refurbished finds, he does occasionally splurge on something completely custom. “The one thing about custom boots is that they take a long time to make,” he says following a detailed description of a just-ordered ornate pair of chocolate boots with white inlays. He admits that things this good are worth the wait: “When they finally arrive months after placing the order, it’s like Christmas Day.” For his day-to-day kicks, things are kept simpler (the better to complement his stacks of Stetson pencil roll “Open Road” brim hats). He gets those made by J.B. Hill Boot Company and admits he owns about a dozen, adding that they are the best for long days in the kitchen on your feet—and aren’t too shabby for walking the miles and miles of booths that line Texas 237 in Round Top this month. “I always try to make it to Round Top for fall and spring Antique Week. I end up coming home with a truckload of treasures,” Goode says with a laugh. “I can’t help myself—there is so much good stuff out here in Texas!”