Barbecue Favorite Keeps Bellies Full, People Happy In Shawnee

Friday, September 9th 2011, 10:16 am
By: News 9

SHAWNEE, Oklahoma -- Van's Pig Stand has been serving up good food and good service in Shawnee since 1930.

Leroy Vandergrift first opened the restaurant on Highland Street, and moved across the street five years later. Jev Vandegrift is a third generation barbecue man, but he didn't always want to be here.

"When I got in trouble, I was down here washing dishes. That was one of my punishments," Vandergrift said.

It's certainly no punishment now to walk through Vandergrift's kitchen. He goes through a truckload of ribs every two months. That's about 38,000 racks of ribs, all of them prepared with some serious TLC.

Another tradition at Van's is the graffiti etched into the tables. When the health department deemed it unsafe, the tables were flipped, but the evidence is still there.

These days the graffiti is limited to the booths. The furnishings may have changed a little, but that's about all that's changed around Van's.

"There's a tradition here, and I'm the third generation," said Vandegrift. "And it's my duty and responsibility to carry on this tradition."