WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — When in Williamsburg, a sweet and savory bite of pit-smoked barbecue can be found at a local, family-owned eatery that’s been serving the community for half a century.
Over the years, the restaurant has survived a fire, been threatened by interstate plans, and is now facing a pandemic. But that hasn’t stopped the well-known spot from earning local, statewide, and national acclaim for its cuisine.
Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Que, located off Interstate 64, was presented with a resolution by the Virginia House of Delegates, commending the family-owned restaurant for 50 years of business.
“What an honor, and it’s not only an honor for me and my family, but the restaurant industry in general,” said Jay Pierce, second-generation owner of Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Que at the restaurant. “It’s been such a tough year, so getting recognition is quite an honor.”
Amanda Batten, who was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2019, presented the resolution to Pierce on Thursday.
“I lived in Toano for about 16 years now, so I’m very familiar with Pierce’s, which is located in my legislative district, the 96th House District,” Batten said.
BELOW: Amanda Batten, who was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2019, presents a resolution to Jay Pierce on Thursday.
Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Que has received numerous awards and accolades, including recognition from the Travel Channel, Southern Living, and even National Geographic.
As the only open-pit barbecue in Virginia, it uses at least two cords of hickory and white oak each week according to House Joint Resolution No. 594. In addition to the slow-cooking process, the most significant ingredient is its zesty, Tennessee-style sauce, a recipe that was refined over countless family dinners and remains a well-kept secret.
Pierce’s also uses the highest quality of pork Boston butts and sources free-range chicken and vegetables from local farms.
When its doors first opened in 1971, Pierce’s prepared about 60 pounds of slow-cooked pork per week and sold sandwiches for 85 cents. Since then, the restaurant has grown to include six smoking pits with a maximum capacity of 6,000 pounds of barbecue.
“As proud as we are of the restaurant, it was not just myself. It was certainly all of our staff,” Pierce said.
Pierce also credits his father, Doc Pierce, who opened the restaurant when Jay Pierce was 15 years old. He credits his father for the longevity of the business and cites his father’s belief in a good product, honest work, and humility to survive in business for a long time.
“We have second and third-generation staff that have been here for many years, and this restaurant was built on the backs of those folks and the community around us,” said Pierce.
For more information on Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Que, visit their website.