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Thomas' Smoke Pit Stop brings family tradition to Manchester

They opened their store the day the state shut down from COVID-19 but have maintained a strong customer base.

MANCHESTER, Conn. — For Thomas' Smokey Pit Stop owners Darryl and Cassandra Thomas, March 18, 2020, is a day they'll never forget.  

"We opened up the day the state shut down and closed down due to the pandemic; it was our grand opening," recalled Darryl. 

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Darryl said failure was not an option for them. Although the uncertainty did make things challenging, he said they never gave up. 

He said nearly two years later, despite the trials and tribulations, their smoker hasn't stopped making some of Connecticut's most authentic BBQ and soul food. He said it's all about doing what he loves and sharing his family recipes. 

"It's bringing a part of my culture into the community, which makes me feel good, and my family feels good," Darryl explained.  

Thomas' Smokey Pit Stop started serving in the community through catering and eventually transitioned to a food truck. After a few years, Cassandra said they saw a need to make a permanent spot for the pit stop.

"We said, you know what? let's turn this into a take-out spot," recalled Cassandra. "We saw that there was more of a need to be able to have a place for our customers because the food truck was in various towns and places throughout the community, and so to have a home for people to come was our vision."

Despite adversity, Thomas' Smokey Pit Stop has thrived with the communities support. 

The delicious southern BBQ and soul food keeps customers coming back. The Thomas' have many things on the menu, including barbeque, pulled pork, brisket, mac & cheese, collard greens, candy yams, baked beans, and more. 

And it's three generations of recipes and BBQ knowledge. 

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"That's cultural food from my family, my mother, my father, my uncles, and grandmother," passionately explained Darryl. "And to deliver this to a community that receives it. It's just an uplifting thing." 

Cassandra said they want every customer to know that their appreciation goes into everything they do with every order placed.  

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"We put our heart and soul into our cooking, so we want people to leave here knowing that this is a home away from home."

Thomas' Smokey Pit Stop is located at 182 Middle Turnpike West Manchester. 

Hours of operation:

Monday-  Closed

Tuesday - Closed

Wednesday- 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Thursday- 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Friday- 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Saturday- 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Sunday- Closed

Raquel Harrington is the race and culture reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at rharrington@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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