Fire damages longtime Port Arthur favorite Nick’s Pit

Published 6:54 pm Tuesday, May 18, 2021

A local barbecue spot whose links made the pages of Texas Monthly magazine in 2015 suffered a fire early Tuesday afternoon.

Port Arthur Fire Battalion Chief Patrick Murphy said authorities received the call to Nick’s Pit, 2548 Gulfway Drive, at approximately 2:25 p.m.

When first responders arrived, the rear half of the building was fully involved. This area is where the barbecue pits are located.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The building saw heavy damage at the rear and smoke damage at the front of the building.

No injuries were reported, and the building is not a total loss, Murphy said.

Firefighters were on scene for approximately an hour, and the blaze was out in the first five minutes, Murphy said.

Nick’s Pit owner Barbra Nicholas, seen in April, has owned the BBQ eatery for 47 years. (Chris Moore/The News)

Nick’s Pit has been around 47 years.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The mom-and-pop operation opened April 10, 1974, when Nick Nicholas convinced his wife, Barbra Nicholas, to quit her job and go into business with him.

“I didn’t want to start it,” Barbra Nicholas told Port Arthur Newsmedia in April. “This was my husband’s dream. We walked in here together.”

Nick, who died in 2000, and his wife first opened their restaurant on West 7th Street. The two moved to the current location at 2548 Gulfway Dr. when the West Port Arthur location was overrun with drug use in the early 90s.

Nick’s Pit was damaged this week by fire. (Mary Meaux/The News)