Although Stonewall’s has been in existence since Tony and Angie Smith opened it in 1995, the Smith family has 72 years of combined experience serving up some of the best food in the South. Tony’s dad, Jerry, has over 40 years of experience in foodservice. Having worked in the past with Colonel Harlan Sanders (Kentucky Fried Chicken) and Roy Rogers (Roy Roger’s Roast Beef), he was previously the owner of the former Jerry’s Fried Chicken in Hattiesburg. Today, he continues working at the original Stonewall’s in Picayune. In fact, it was Jerry who developed the special award-winning barbeque sauce still used at Stonewall’s today.
Influenced by his father, Tony has been working in the foodservice industry since he was a child, for 30 years or so. Tony loves working with his father and has learned from him that working hard, treating people well, and serving a great product will bring success.
The father/son duo, along with other members of the family, start each day at the Picayune restaurant by cranking up the smoker around 7 a.m. Then they begin making their delicious iced tea and many of the menu items from scratch, and they continue cooking throughout the day.
The Smith family is devout in their spiritual faith and incorporates many of the same core values into their everyday business practices. Tony often expresses that the decision to go into the restaurant business was as much a spiritual calling as a practical decision. He believes that one of the most important and unique aspects of the restaurant is its commitment to the people who interact with it on a daily basis, including its employees, its customers, its vendors, and other franchise owners. Tony’s passion for serving others can be directly witnessed by observing his dedication to his family.
Indeed, running the Picayune Stonewall’s is a real family affair. The Smiths’ three daughters, Lauren, Alexis, and Addison, all participate in the day-to-day operation of the restaurant. From Addison’s assistance in cleaning the kitchen and making the tea to Alexis’ enjoyment of tasting new recipes and running the cash register to Lauren’s help in greeting people and training franchisees, the whole family is truly integral to the business.
The Smiths are a close-knit family who enjoy being around each other. With a love of the water and being in the outdoors, they like to get away to the beach or the mountains when they are not working at the restaurant. The limited hours of operation at the Picayune location are due to Tony’s commitment to keeping focus on his family.
Because the Smiths treat their customers with the same respect and warmth that they treat each other, Stonewall’s Barbeque has earned a reputation from the community of having a high level of quality service. And Tony considers the Stonewall’s franchises to be part of the family as well. With new franchises opening throughout the country, as the Smiths’ business grows, so does their family!