Tasty barbecue and live music are drawing people of all ages to Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Que.
“Stanley’s is a place for everyone to hangout,” said Nick Pencis, owner of Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Que. “My wife Jen and I, our whole philosophy is that everyone is welcome here. We want it to be fun and accessible. We want everyone to feel like Stanley’s is their place.”
Stanley’s restaurant has been serving barbecue to the East Texas area for almost 60 years. Owners Nick and Jen Pencis have honored the long history of Stanley’s while expanding the venue. It is not only a place for true Texas barbecue, but a place where musicians can showcase their work for customers to enjoy.
The musicians perform on the patio next to a painting on the wall reading “Support Live Music.” The music varies from blues, funk, soul and southern rock. During the week local musicians and regulars are at Stanley’s, but on Friday nights bands from all around Texas and even the country, from New York to New Orleans perform.
It isn’t often residents get the opportunity to hear a live band in Tyler, and that’s what Stanley’s is trying to bring to its customers.
“We try to catch these guys while they’re out on the road to give people an opportunity to get to see music they wouldn’t see otherwise unless they drove to Austin or Dallas. We’re trying to bring those artists here to town to showcase them here,” said Pencis.
Customers of Stanley’s vary in age, from young college students to families hanging out and having a good time.
“It’s just a really chill environment; you get to talk to your friends. The music is really good, it takes you back to East Texas roots,” said Jonathan Romo, an environmental science major at Tyler Junior College.
When it comes to the food at Stanley’s, the sandwiches are really popular.
“I think it will be hard to ever top a straight up brisket sandwich, it’s kind of a big East Texas thing,” said Pencis.
For breakfast Stanley’s offers breakfast bowls and burritos. For lunch and dinner the menu ranges from tacos, ribs and meat plates, to sandwiches like “The Mother Clucker” which was named the best sandwich in the state by Texas Monthly.
Tyler Junior College students that frequent Stanley’s, describe the food as delicious and hearty.
“It’s affordable. It definitely meets my budget while satisfying my stomach,” said Saul Aguilar, a psychology major at Tyler Junior College.
Pencis believes that the surge of popularity is due to the restaurants expansion about two years ago. Stanley’s used to be open for lunch only and would close up around 2 p.m. every day. They have since expanded by opening for dinner, offering live music and the patio bar.
The goal is to shift some of the attention that barbecue from Austin and Central Texas gets, and put East Texas barbecue on the map.
“Yeah they have a lot of good barbecue down there but so do we up here,” Pencis said. “I think if we just keep doing what we’re doing and paying attention to the details, people will start realizing, ‘Hey East Texas has it going on, too.”
Nick and Jen want everyone to feel welcomed when they walk in, their motto being “Be kind and have fun.”
Breakfast is offered from 7 a.m.-10 a.m. Monday-Friday, lunch and dinner are served from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday and closed on Sunday. Stanley’s is located on 525 S. Beckham Avenue, Tyler, TX, 75702.