Feeding Hearts and Stomachs

December 21, 2023
Blake Barrow

Blake Barrow, B.A. ’80, M.A. ’83, J.D. ’88, has been feeding hearts and stomachs at Hallelujah! BBQ in El Paso since doors opened in 2023.

Beyond his trio of Baylor degrees, Barrow added a Master of Theological Studies from Emory University in 1987. A career as a civil trial lawyer brought him to El Paso in 1988. Almost 10 years later, a desire for a career change led Barrow to become the chief executive director of Rescue Mission of El Paso. Barrow has served in the role since November 1997.

Perhaps one of Barrow’s most impressive projects as CEO is the transformation of an old, abandoned building into one of the city’s most popular restaurants, Hallelujah! BBQ. Barrow had a vision for the once run-down, boarded-up building, and it was renovated to now serve as a subsidiary of Rescue Mission, with all restaurant profits going back to the mission. Barrow plans to expand the restaurant into a coffee bar, dining area and Hallelujah! Bakery for more guests to enjoy.

Vocational rehabilitation is a key part of the mission’s services to the homeless and migrant population of El Paso. Hallelujah! BBQ only hires from the homeless population, with two long-term positions and 10 short-term positions to help equip employees with skills that can be used in trades and careers throughout the community.

“We’re about putting people back together,” Barrow said in a recent Texas Monthly article profiling his business. “If I’m going to take people who are homeless and help them succeed at life, the way they’re going to succeed is by making the very best product, and providing the best service.”

Barrow added, “We turned [the building] into a work of art, and that’s the same thing we do with people.”