Ad Spot

ON THE MENU — Old school BBQ stop Nick’s Pit nearing 50 years in Port Arthur

For 47 years, Nick’s Pit in Port Arthur has been one of the area’s best barbecue spots.

The mom-and-pop operation opened April 10, 1974, when Nick Nicholas convinced his wife, Barbra Nicholas, to quit her job and go into business with him.

“I didn’t want to start it,” Barbra Nicholas said while laughing. “This was my husband’s dream. We walked in here together.”

Nick, who died in 2000, and his wife first opened their restaurant on West 7th Street. The two moved to the current location at 2548 Gulfway Dr. when the West Port Arthur location was overrun with drug use in the early 90s.

Cordell Allen pours BBQ sauce at Nick’s Pit. (Chris Moore/The News)

“We did good over there until the drugs ran us out,” Nicholas said. “It got so bad that our customers were afraid to go in there.”

Nicholas said she continues to run the restaurant as a way to make a living and continue her husband’s dream.

The business has remained a family affair. Nicholas’ daughter, Stephanie Nicholas-Allen, and her son, Cordell Allen, help Nicholas keep things up to par.

“My parents opened this place when I was 12,” Nicholas-Allen said. “I have been doing this pretty much my whole life.”

Nicholas said her husband knew his way around the kitchen.

“He could make the best pies you have ever tasted,” she said. “He could make apple, potato, lemon — he could make some good pies. That was his thing. My husband was a seaman first. He was chief cook and second cook.”

Nicholas said links were her husband’s specialty. While she said she could not recreate his pies, his signature links are still the most popular item on the menu.

Stephanie Nicholas-Allen checks on the meat at Nick’s Pit. (Chris Moore/The News)

Nick’s Pit offers ribs, chopped beef and links. Patrons can get dinners, which include one meat and two sides (rice dressing, potato salad, barbecue beans or string beans) or combos.

The restaurant also offers boudin, pig feet, turkey legs, pickles, soda and chips.

Along with the links, Nick’s is known for its barbecue sauce, which can be bought by the pint.

Even prior to the pandemic, the primary business items for Nick’s Pit were pick-up orders, which allowed the restaurant to stay afloat as businesses learned to adapt. Nicholas-Allen said she is in no hurry to open the seating area back up with her mother being older and having a condition that puts her at a higher risk to the coronavirus.

Nicholas, who recently celebrated the 47th anniversary of the eatery’s opening, said she would like to run the business for another three years to make it 50.

“Old people come in here and tell us that they remember when we were on the west side,” she said. “I’m most proud that my customers still come in and patronize me. The community keeps us in business and keeps us making a living. I want to do this for another three years if the Lord lets me.”

Entertainment

PNG’s “Descendants” closing out 2020-21 season with performances today & Tuesday

Local

DPS: Vidor motorcyclist killed after crashing while running from area deputies

Local

Judge Brad Burnett recognizing high school students Jakelin Manzo & Linh Nguyen as Shining Stars

Local

American Air Systems providing community resident with free HVAC system this week

Local

See how much Texas gas prices jumped in a month

Beaumont

6-year-old killed in ATV/pedestrian crash; police investigating

Local

Police identify man shot, killed Friday night as a Port Arthur resident

Groves

Raquel Ochoa named Groves Mother of the Year

Groves

Police: Groves man robbed, pistol-whipped 81-year-old man

Education

Janet Cline honored for lifetime commitment to students

Local

See which Port Neches properties set for demolition, receive chance for redevelopment

Columns

STEPHEN HEMELT — Real work begins now that voters approved parks upgrade

Local

Local police chiefs talk open handgun carry law

Local

Port Arthur LNG potential decision delay detailed

Local

Police: Arrest made after Nederland pizza joint fights leaves victim bloodied

Education

Port Arthur education leaders talk campus return need

Local

Health department director, staff recognized for work during pandemic

Beaumont

Aggravated assaults, drug charges lowlight Jefferson County indictments

Education

Nederland ISD providing summer breakfast, lunch for kids

Local

Religion Briefs: Church plans special Mother’s Day event

Groves

Area seniors selected for Christus All-Star Classic

Local

Man found shot Friday night in Port Arthur, homicide investigation ongoing

Local

PAPD: $4K in crack seized, arrest made in Port Arthur

Business

ON THE MENU — The Golden Cup prepares for expansion, full cafe service