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Groves restaurant serves food with a side of music

Come for the barbeque ribs and pulled pork sandwiches. Stay for the live music and festive air.

Clayboy’s BBQ Pit Stop hosts their Open Mic Night from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays at their Groves location on 4801 Main Avenue. The weekly event is intended for food, family, friends and, of course, live music.

“Some friends of mine are musicians and wanted to play,” Clay Pelloat of Clayboy’s said. “One of them is my best friend and thought that it would help bring business in.”

The bands normally set up under a double car awning next to the restaurant known simply as “Tha Spot,” a colorfully designated area with the name in the background and a painted sun hanging from the rafters.

“It brings musicians together and it brings like-minded people together,” said Mary Emerson, promoter, manager, and sometime singer for The Emersons.

The Emersons are a band usually comprised of her husband and brother-in-law, who are regular fixtures at “Tha Spot.”

“We’ve been doing this [Open Mic] since November 6 of last year,” Emerson, who is also principal organizer of Clayboy’s Open Mic Night, said. “We’ve been doing it for almost a year. It’s a venue for musicians, to bring them and the community together.”

When asked about the kind of music that is played at Open Mic Night and at “Tha Spot,” Emerson responded, “It’s a wide variety of music. We welcome all kinds — classic, country, rock, jazz, anything…

“If you know someone who’s musical, bring them out here! They could play the saxophone, tuba, whatever. Just bring them out here!”

The musical event is free and does not charge anybody to go onstage and play.

“It’s our way of mingling with each other,” Emerson said. “We get to know the people who are there.”

Whereas the event originally started in a corner of Clayboy’s, it quickly outgrew its setting and moved next door under the awning of the future “Tha Spot.” The event has hosted up to 60 people before.

“You can imagine the parking on those nights,” Emerson said. “So many people come together every weekend… We wanted to do something where people didn’t have to go to a bar. It’s BYOB; Clayboy’s does not sell alcohol.”

Emerson was quick to highlight the friendly vibe of the weekly event.

“You can come out, eat, be around friends, play some music and get to know people. You don’t have to pay cover charge — you can just hang out and be comfortable.

“It’s kind of like going to a party in your backyard. You have the best barbeque in the world, and then you have neighbors and friends for company.”

In the organizer’s eyes, Clayboy’s and its Open Mic Night is located in the ideal place.

“It’s right in the middle of Groves. It’s in the perfect place.”

“The whole thing in a nutshell is getting musicians to know musicians,” Emerson said. “You never know what you’re going to find.”