Our BBQ Restaurant History
Sam's grandfather, the late Pete Jones, opened the Legendary Skylight Inn at age 17 where Sam has been involved since a very early age. Skylight was founded in the summer of 1947on fresh whole hogs being cooked over wood the same way many generations before Pete did it. Since that time, the Skylight Inn has become a standard in eastern NC barbecue. Known for its rich family history and unwavering dedication to cooking Barbecue, the Skylight Inn has stayed true to its roots.
In 1979, National Geographic published a book entitled Back Roads America and basically proclaimed Pete Jones’ Skylight Inn to be some of the best Barbecue in the country.
Just a few years later in 1982, Pete’s barbeque got the attention of some politicians and he was invited to serve his barbeque at a congressional bowl. There, President Regan and Vice President Bush delighted in the wonderful smoke flavored Pork and followed up with a letter to Pete and son Bruce stating how great the barbecue was.
Skylight’s pigs were simmering with success as local and national newspapers and magazines continued to write about this place in Ayden, NC. Southern Living magazine has featured the Skylight Inn several times, most recently naming Pete’s Grandson Sam as “one of the top ten pitmasters in the south” in 2012.
People magazine featured the Skylight Inn in 1991 and success continued. In 1999, the Skylight Inn gloried in an article in GQ magazine saying,“Pete Jones was a man among pigs”.
In 2003, the Skylight Inn received its most prestigious award referred to many as, “the Oscars for culinary arts”. In a new category, the Jones family received one of four James Beard awards for “Americas Classics”.
Since then, the Skylight Inn has been featured on television networks such as the Travel Channel, Food Network, and the History Channel. It has also continued to be featured in numerous publications such as Our State Magazine and Details Magazine. Details Magazine chose the Skylight Inn for having one of the “Top 22 sandwiches” in America in 2006 and was on the CBS Morning Show in 2007.
Although Pete passed away in February 2006, his legacy and mark in Barbecue is still going strong. Skylight Inn BBQ is now operated by Pete’s son Bruce, nephew Jeff, and grandson Sam Jones who are very proud and dedicated to carrying on the legacy that Pete Jones left. The pits still smoke, and the fire burns brighter than ever.