Desiree Robinson, an 85-year-old African American businesswoman from Memphis, Tennessee, has been the first woman inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame. She is the proud owner and pitmaster of Cozy Corner, a well-known barbecue joint that has been serving delicious smoked pork for over 45 years.
Desiree and her late husband, Raymond, founded Cozy Corner in 1977. They created a legacy that Desiree carried on after her husband died in 2001. Over the years, she has never failed to recognize her husband’s talent and efforts that have contributed to the company’s success.
“My husband was an awesome cook, and I’m good, but not nearly as good as he was. I’m telling you it blew my mind. It started with him. He built it for us,” Desiree told Fox 13 Memphis, adding that her husband’s warm personality and ability to connect with customers also attributed a significant part to their restaurant’s success.
Desiree’s devotion to upholding the restaurant’s excellent standards earned her a well-deserved spot in the Barbecue Hall of Fame in 2020. Notably, Desiree became not only the first Black woman honoree, but also the first live Black honoree, with three additional Black men honored posthumously.
“I wish I could describe it to you,” Desiree said. “You just can’t imagine how good it makes me feel. I’m blessed because I know it’s all about how it got started and maintained.”
Desiree’s family has been instrumental in creating a pleasant environment for customers for over 45 years. The restaurant has become a second home for her children, who used to slumber in the back as little children and eventually grew up to contribute to the business in accordance with their ages, from wiping tables to serving clients.
“I’m blessed. I’ve got a wonderful family, I really do,” she added. “Four generations of family. We work together in harmony and I just thank God for that.”