When folks in Kilgore want burgers, beer and the best of live music, there's only one place to go: The Back Porch.
The popularity of the restaurant is one reason owners Jackie and Vicki Clayton were given the Small Business of the Year award at the STAR Gala on Monday evening but the restaurant is loved for many reasons.
“The Kilgore Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year is presented to a business who has demonstrated accomplishments during the last one to two years through excellent business practices, profitability, growth, sustainability along with a commitment to community service, said Chamber of Commerce President Jill McCartney before introducing a video of locals singing the praises of the beloved eatery.
“Jackie and Vicki have turned this place into a shrine for local music, said Tobie Turner, lead singer for local rock group Teazur, I the video. He described growing up with the Back Porch and coming to the restaurant for post-game meals when playing for the KHS Bulldogs as a high school student.
Others in the video described seeing the restaurant grow from a small mom-and-pop shop into a thriving local establishment after a remodel and many successful years serving local favorites.
Employees described owner Jackie Clayton's dedication to the business, saying he comes into the business to take orders, carry food and clean tables along with the waitstaff.
“I just want to say thanks a lot. I see a lot of your faces every day at the Porch, or every week at least, said Jackie Clayton after he received the award. “It means a lot to us to do what we do at The Back Porch. I'm there every day because I love it. I love seeing y'all. We thank you.
The Claytons took over The Back Porch in 1990 though it had been open as a pool hall since the 1960s. It was a sandwich shop and burger joint before they took it over but they moved the restaurant in a new direction.
Over the years, they expanded the menu and the Porch became the traditional place for the high school football team to have their pre-game meal.
Now, The Back Porch has become known as much for it live music as for its burgers. In 2018, the restaurant was named Music Venue of the Year by the East Texas Music Awards for the fourth year in a row.