Roast Social Kitchen

Fresh Casual in Tyler's Midtown Corridor

Nick and Jen Pencis
Nick and Jen Pencis -- Photo: Tyler Paper

Rather than just stating the obvious mission statement of this endeavor, I’d like to explain it philosophically and to do that there needs to be a bit of background explaining…

Before there was Stanley’s Famous Pit BBQ and all that we collectively brought to that table, there was Nick and Jen, a couple of kids who had been raised steeped in separate, but equal parts of FOOD and the mega industry it has become.

Nick’s father was an executive chef and an integral part of developing menus, front and back of house operations and the financial success of many institutions for decades. Nick being an observant kid, seized it all and held onto the dream of being able to recreate that in his own way and in his own time.

I, on the other hand, was raised by a bake chef (my mother) and I watched her graduate from culinary school and then do what anybody who loves food does… GROW! On an acre garden in the Adirondack Mountains we grew, harvested and nourished ourselves on what we cultivated.

The inception of that fresh farm to table life began for me those thirty years ago. I know good food. I was raised on it! Flash forward a couple of decades and a bunch of traveling (individually), to this current day where Nick and I, have collectively gathered a team of people with an understanding of FOOD and how to make it fantastic, fun and still live up to its intention, NOURISHMENT! Both for our bodies and for our souls.

In our community of friends, who also know good food, but frankly, don’t have many options; we are here with an idea. An idea we are ready to share. Our neighborhood (Midtown) is thriving and the corner lot that we have chosen at 5th and Fleishel is a fantastic spot for new, and exciting good eats. It’s in the heart of the medical district and positively teaming with excitement about the new nursing school at TJC, all the while being super close to Tyler’s historic downtown.

Our neighbors need fresh food, prepared quickly (but with care) that makes them feel good about what they’ve chosen! Combine that, with what we’ve always felt that Tyler is lacking, a GREAT pizza and a friendly ambience to share it and that’s our mission. Primarily great pizza, freshly prepared, hand made dough, loaded with unique toppings that are roasted fresh onsite daily and further menu offerings prepared with the same insight and intention and there’s our recipe for success.

Create food with intention and encourage folks to dine with that same intention lends itself to the ultimate philosophy of our mission. A well intended atmosphere to share good food and good times! The insight for what would become our inspiration for this project is truly the town itself. When we have time to sit in our garden of dreams and fantasize about what we’d like to do next (and best), it comes back to giving our community what it needs (and deserves). We hope you’ll join us in this journey and we look forward sharing it with you. Cheers!

RSK Timeline

July 5

Let’s Go For It

The idea of opening a new restaurant had been seriously discussed over the course of 2013 & 2014.  An attempt was even made to open a 2nd location for Stanley's Famous, but never panned out. At the beach, watching our kids play in the water, we discussed developing a new concept centered around making great pizzas with fresh ingredients. We knew for sure we wanted the space that is now home to RSK, so we agreed to inquire about the spot when we get home.
August 25

Lease Negotiations

Letter of Intent is presented and a Lease is drafted. Negotiations  will last more than 3 months.
September 9

Planning Begins

Jen's vision for the menu have been taking shape in our kitchen at home. Lots of research and learning to cook pizzas too. Over a dozen dough recipes have been tried and it's definitely harder than we thought. Jen and I also begin sketching ideas for the interior layout of the building.
November 18

First Renderings

Jen and I begin taking having our ideas drafted by an architect. The layout and concept design make progress.
December 3

Lease Signed

Lease negotiations are finalized. We officially sign the lease as we are packing to leave for NYC for some pizza research and fun.
December 6


Jen and I have a "date night" at Pizza a Casa Pizza School in Little Italy, NYC.  We learn how to make awesome pizzas and completely validate what Jen has already been producing at home over the last several months. A great friendship with Mark, Jenny, and Neil is born.
January 2

Paint Removal & Demolition

The difficult task of removing countless layers of paint from the brick interior begins. The crew also begins prepping to punch holes in the brick walls for new doors, windows, and walkways.
January 20

The Pizza Oven & Test Kitchen

Our new friends at Pizza School in NYC have given us great advice about choosing a pizza oven and we decide to order the Giotto rotating brick deck oven and have it shipped from Italy. We have also found a great location to use as our test kitchen while construction is in progress.
February 20


Pizza oven arrives from Italy
March 2


The first of many solid steel I-Beams start to get set in place.
April 7

Dig It Up

Massive trenches were dug after saw cutting the concrete floors in order to add plumbing for the kitchen, bar, and bathrooms.
April 13


Framing for the interior walls begins.
April 29

Bar Framing

Our bar is born.
June 24

“New” Doors

The Caliber crew installs "new" doors that we salvaged from an old restaurant that was being torn down.
August 6

Reclaimed Wood

Jen begins the long process of preparing reclaimed wood that we will use on our walls, ceilings and our table tops.
August 12

Lighting Design

Jen and Ryan Maresch (Proton Electric) kick around ideas for custom lighting fabrication while the kids try to entertain themselves.
August 15

Thanks, Mom!

Moments like this are the reason we were able to pull this off! Jen's Mom (CC) brings by a surprise picnic for a much needed break and some motherly comfort and encouragement. We could never have done this without the amazing patience, encouragement and help from our family and friends. Thank you all SO much!
August 20

Dining Wall

JP and his crew come on board to help with finish out. Here are the Stanley brothers building the wall that separates the dining area from the order counter.
August 28

Oven Install

The Giotto makes its way over from the test kitchen and meets its new home.
September 4

Table Tops

Ronnie takes a break after completing the installation of the reclaimed wood table tops.
September 7


Mark & Jenny Bello along with Neil Lesneski of the Famous Original Pizza School (Pizza a Casa) in NYC arrive for a week long pizza making session with Jen, Nick and Leo. (Special appearance by Pitmaster Shaw)
October 1

The Tap Wall

Nick & JP cut through solid brick to install the tap wall and walk-in cooler.
October 21

The Shelves

The Stanley brothers install our custom milled bar shelving.
November 11

Steel Entry

Weldworx installs the 1/4" thick Corten Steel entry way.  The pattern was cut out by a water jet process in Kilgore.
December 12

Angel Tree

Jen puts some festive decor up for the Stanley's employee Christmas party. This was our first opportunity to prepare a large portion of our menu for a real audience. We got a great feel for execution, what worked and what would need tweaking.
January 12

Hello, Chef!

Leo and our newly hired Chef, Brian Arnold, watch as Chef Sharon Hague (5 times nominated for a James Beard Award) discusses some options for prepping items. Sharon worked with us for three days as we finalized the items for our opening menu.
January 27

Exterior & Facade

Our storefront had a complete overhaul! We installed new columns, facade, exterior lighting & custom ironwork.
February 2

The Sign

The crew from Leon's prepares to hoist our brand new sign and attach it to the building.
February 3

Hello, Everybody!

Our Facebook page goes live and Jen introduces us!
February 11

Mixing the Batches

Parker begins mixing batches for barrel aged cocktails.
February 15

Jen’s Heart & Palette

Jen dials in her recipes as we get closer to opening day.
February 18

Employee Orientation

February 29

Leap Day Soft Opening

We finally opened on Leap Day 2016!