Tom & Bingo’s Bar-B-Q to Celebrate 75 Years in Business With Texas Treasure Business Award

Tom & Bingo’s Bar-B-Q restaurant will celebrate 75 years in business with an official presentation of the Texas Historical Commission’s Texas Treasure Business Award (TTBA) by State Representative Carl H. Tepper on Saturday, July 1st, 2023. The celebration will take place at Tom & Bingo’s (3006 34th Street) during regular business hours, from 11:00 am until 3:00 pm or until they sell out. There will be indoor and patio seating along with a local selection of beer and wine.

The TTBA program pays tribute to the state’s well-established businesses and their exceptional historical contributions to communities across Texas. By acknowledging local businesses while they are still in operation, the commission honors recipients as places of living history, recording their stories, and ensuring their legacies for generations to

The story behind Tom & Bingo’s began with distant cousins, Tom Clanton and Gaston Ray “Bingo” Mills. Family legend is that at thirteen years old, Tom Clanton got fired from Shoemaker’s BBQ in Dallas. Down on his luck, Tom decided to buy a cow from his grandpa, and Tom and his cousin, Bingo, went door to door trying to sell the meat. After having one door after another shut in their faces, they decided to barbecue the meat, of which they sold every bite to the same people that had shut their doors on them just hours earlier. The boys saved their money and moved to Amarillo in 1946 where, according to the Amarillo-Globe-News, they operated “one of the least ostentatious business establishments imaginable” – the original Tom & Bingo’s BBQ. Tom planned to sell barbecue until he reached the west coast, but his plans changed in Lubbock in  1947 when he married Bettye Nelle Baker. In 1952, Tom and Bettye opened the current and last-standing location at 3006 34th Street.

Tom & Bettye’s son, Dwayne Clanton and his wife, Liz, carried on the West Texas tradition from 1980 until 2017. As a kid, Dwayne grew up at Tom & Bingo’s and was whipping up batches of their secret recipe BBQ sauce by the age of 11. With a strong work ethic and a love for BBQ and the family business, Dwayne took ownership of the establishment in 1980. As an award-winning Pitmaster, he served quality smoked meats and sandwiches for over 30 years.

Current Owner, Ian Timmons’s first stint at Tom & Bingo’s began in 2009, but back then he was just an employee dating owner Dwayne Clanton’s daughter, Kristi. The two married and returned to their native Lubbock in 2017 to ease Dwayne into retirement. Ian figured he’d eventually take over the place, but just two weeks after Ian’s first day back, Dwayne passed away suddenly. Ian went from student to the torchbearer of a family barbecue legacy. As third-generation owner, Ian pays homage to the decades of tradition by smoking modern bark-on-brisket, house-made sausage and pork spareribs on the same brick pits his father-in-law used. He has expanded the menu to include house-made brisket burgers and an array of scratch-made sides, and just this year added a food truck for catering and events. The brick-and-mortar location is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11:00 am until they sell out.


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