The History Behind Stookey's Famous Bar-B-Que

In 1926, Ralph and Margaret Stookey opened a small road side stand on Route 11 in West Nanticoke. By its side was an open pit where large cuts of fresh pork were smoked daily. They called it Stookey’s Barbeque and that’s where Ralph and Margaret served a wood smoked pork barbeque sandwich in a secret homemade sauce. That was the beginning of a tradition that still flourishes today.

The small stand on Route 11 also served as a home for the Stookey family where they lived and worked along with their daughters Shirley and Jean. In the early 1950’s, Shirley and Jean Stookey took over the already successful business. However, what was once their family kitchen and dining room was now the public dining area and what was once their bedroom became a larger kitchen and storage area for the continually growing business.

By 1980 Shirley (Stookey) Frank and her husband Conn Frank developed a larger menu which included soups, baked potatoes and salads. And in 1984 the old outdoor BBQ pit was replaced by a stainless steel wood fired smoker. At this time the U.S.D.A. licensing was acquired and Stookey’s Incorporated was created. By the mid 1990’s, Stookey’s famous Barbeque and Stookey’s Incorporated were being managed by a third generation family member. Today, both operations are under the ownership of Ralph Frank, son of Shirley and Conn.

Ralph is now continuing the tradition of the family’s secret sauce served with the freshly smoked meats along with newer menu items. In addition, he ships their delicious smoked barbeque nationwide so everyone can enjoy this time-honored recipe.

Times have changed since 1926 yet fresh quality meats are still smoked daily at Stookey's just like they were nearly a hundred years ago.