Desiree Robinson owns and is the pitmaster of the well-known Cozy Corner barbecue restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee. She made history in 2020, becoming the first Black woman initiated into the Barbecue Hall of Fame.

Her establishment has served the North Memphis community and tourists some of the city’s best smoked meat for 45 years. In August 1977, she and her late husband, Raymond Robinson, joined forces as business partners. She took over the business to continue the legacy they created when her husband passed in 2001. In 2020, 19 years later, she received one of barbecue’s highest honors when she became one of three inductees to the Barbecue Hall of Fame. Three Black men were inducted, although they weren’t alive to accept the award, making Robinson the first living Black honoree.

“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,” the 85-year-old recently told Fox 13 Memphis in an interview.

“He never met a person that didn’t fall in love with him,” Robinson said. “He was the most likable person I have ever met in my life. And, he had the personality. Oh my goodness, everybody loved him. People just liked him and he liked people.”

Since the award-winning restaurant opened 45 years ago, the talented cook said her family has been a critical factor in helping customers feel love when they arrive.

“I want them to know that they are at home. I want them to know that they are welcomed and I want them to know that I want them to come back. So they’re going to eat good and they’re going to be treated right,” the entrepreneur said.

“Our kids don’t stay home for nap time when they’re coming up, little kids. They go to the Cozy Corner every day and go to the back and have their nap, come out and socialize with the customers,” she said. And when they’re old enough, they’ll wipe down tables, wait, whatever is age appropriate. But, everybody greets. If you work there, you better greet whoever walks through that door.”

“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.”