Founded in 1930, Stamey’s is well known for it’s “Lexington-style” pit cooked exclusively over hardwood coals barbecue pork and “secret barbecue sauce” or “dip”. Serving delicious barbecue takes more than just a style and secret sauce. Stamey’s Pitmasters* come in before dawn to light the fire to start the cooking process that can take eight to ten hours.
Most barbecue restaurants have introduced gas or electric cooking methods, but not us! We still slow cook our barbecue over a pit of hardwood hickory coals. The brick pits are completely enclosed, except for a bit of breathing room at the bottom. The hardwood coals are carefully monitored because they will dry the face of the pork if they get too hot. As each 15-pound pork shoulder cooks, the drippings fall onto the hot coals, sending the hickory smoke flavor into the pork. Once the tender pork is done, it is chopped or sliced to order, ensuring the freshest plate for our customers.
No meal is complete without at least some of Stamey’s keys to lasting barbecue success:
Wood Cooked Pork Barbecue, Smiling service, Stamey’s slaw, Fresh Brewed Sweet tea, Homemade cobbler and Hot Hushpuppies (introduced to North Carolina barbecue diners by founder Warner Stamey, himself!)
Good barbecue takes patience and an acute taste for perfection. Stamey’s has spent many years practicing founder C. Warner Stamey’s culinary work of art. Today, a recipe founded in tradition is served to thousands of Stamey’s customers daily.
Born in 1911 the youngest of 11 children, Warner Stamey moved to Lexington to live with his older sister while he attended high school. While he was there, he hooked up with the ingenious barbecue men Jess Swicegood and Sid Weaver. They were selling pork out of tents across from the courthouse and taught Stamey everything there was to know about pit cooking barbecue. A high school diploma and $350 dollars later, Mr. Stamey moved back to Shelby where he sold his own barbecue to growing crowds. Eventually, in 1938, he sold his operation and came back to Lexington where he bought the Swicegood’s Barbecue from his former mentor and renamed it Stamey’s.
From that first restaurant grew several culinary ventures. Warner opened Stamey’s Drive-In, the first restaurant to have a call-in service at the drive-in. He also owned the “Snack Shop”, a Lexington staple and had the North Carolina franchise for soft ice cream dispensers. In 1953, he opened the 2206 W. Gate City Blvd. (formerly High Point Rd.) location in Greensboro. Stamey handed the business off to his son Charles four years later, who was joined by his brother Keith in 1970. The second generation Stamey’s expanded the family’s barbecue business with a new location on Battleground Avenue in Greensboro. In 1979, the current location on W. Gate City replaced the 1953 Drive-In at the same location. In 1993 current owner, Chip Stamey joined his father, Charles and uncle, Keith in the barbecue business. Chip’s father retired in 1997 and Keith passed away in 2000. Charles still lives in Greensboro and serves as barbecue pitmaster emeritus!
After a fire in 2016 at the Stamey’s Battleground location (2812 Battleground Ave.), the location was reopened in July of 2017 with a fully renovated building, with an added drive thru as well! In 2020, Warner Stamey was inducted to the American Royal Hall of Fame for his contributions to the legacy of barbecue in the United States.
Simple menus, hard work and family tradition built a foundation that’s supported and practiced throughout the Piedmont today. The entrepreneur of Lexington-style, the Stamey name is now synonymous with great barbecue.
*Pitmaster – Barbecue Chef