Rocky Mount NC – Prime Smokehouse recognized by Yelp – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Political Agitator’s response: I agree the food and the atmosphere is Fa bu lous ta stic!

The Prime Smokehouse: Barbecue & Beyond is North Carolina’s No. 1 dining destination for travelers, according to a new survey by Yelp, the leading social-network site for ranking restaurants and other businesses based on user reviews.

The recognition is the first for a Rocky Mount-area restaurant, with the honor traditionally bestowed upon dining establishments in the state’s larger, more bustling destinations, such as Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham and Ashville.

Exceptional food — everything from savory smokehouse brisket to homemade gumbo to deliciously healthy fare — and an inviting ambiance are essential to the restaurant’s success because Prime is off the beaten path, about 10 minutes from Interstate 95 to its west. Among the nearly 500 reviews on Yelp, on which Prime has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, many diners note that the six-mile detour off Interstate 95 is well worth the trip.

“I don’t have to tell anybody how tough this business is, especially during this whole COVID-19 mess, and we work like crazy hoping customers will be happy they took a chance on us,” said Yalem Kiros Wiley who, along with her chef husband Ed, opened Prime about 12 years ago. “Sometimes our restaurant is more than half full of travelers from everywhere. I feel really blessed to be appreciated by our many friends here in Rocky Mount and by people from so many distant places.”

To ensure that food-fixated road warriors can continue to safely fuel up on Prime’s menu, the Wileys and their crew have set up a spacious outdoor tent that allows patrons to dine while distanced. In addition, those who have pre-ordered can easily drive up for a touch-free meal pick up.

The Yelp recognition confirms what local and national leaders have long known about The Prime Smokehouse.

U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, who has dined many times at The Prime Smokehouse, praised the restaurant “on being recognized as the No. 1 travel destination in the state of North Carolina and for making history in Rocky Mount!”

Gov. Roy Cooper, who was born in nearby Nashville, said he was happy to see his local hub get the honor.

“Congratulations to The Prime Smokehouse on being recognized by Yelp as the top dining destination for travelers in North Carolina,” he said. “Proud to see national recognition for a place close to home where I love to eat.”

Ed and Yalem first opened The Prime Smokehouse in Garner in 2008, two years after moving to North Carolina from the Washington, D.C., area. Two years later, they relocated the business to the capital city of Raleigh.

In 2013, city officials recruited Prime to Rocky Mount, where its acclaimed cuisine has been recognized by such national media outlets as Travel + Leisure, which ranked its macaroni and cheese among “America’s best,” and The Washington Post. In 2018, the state Commerce Department acknowledged The Prime Smokehouse and its owners by naming them North Carolina Main Street Champions “for their commitment to downtown improvements and strong communities.”

In addition to the wide array of recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation, Ed Wiley attributes much of the restaurant’s success to his wife’s touch. Yalem, who worked many years as a registered nurse before joining forces on the restaurant, ensured that the menu included many healthy and gluten-free choices.

“She also makes sure staff keeps the restaurant immaculately clean, and that there are fresh flowers and candles on the tables,” he said. “Customers always want to come back to a place that is welcoming and has good food.”

As the name suggests, Prime features meats from its famous smokehouse — spareribs, Carolina pulled pork, beef brisket, house-made sausage links, wings and chicken — but there are also hand-cut filets and steaks, grilled salmon and other fish, lobster tails, jumbo shrimp, homemade deep-dish lasagna, roast turkey, beautiful salads and unique twists on traditional southern favorites.

Wiley has named the gumbo after his wife (“Yalem’s Amazing Gumbo”); yams are cooked with oranges and fresh ginger; fresh collards are married with smoked turkey; and the mac is melded with five cheeses. The placard-sized menu, another traveler attraction, is rife with stories about Wiley’s famous jazz musician father (saxophonist Ed Wiley Jr.), who taught him to cook, and the origins of the food.

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Curmilus Butch Dancy II 2020

Prime Smoke House Seems To Be A Topic On Social Media Lately And As Usual I Try to Get All Sides Of The Story

The incident that was recently on The Prime Smokehouse about a Facebook page posting about the owner asked some whites to leave because of a MAGA Hat, I reached out to the owner and he responded. I posted it on my blog and other Social Media pages. Around a day or 2 later it was on the TV Stations across the state.

The following 2 incidents were shared with me but I am blocked from this page so I can’t go on the page. I reached out to the owner so I have got both sides of the story from the 2 who had issues with Prime House and NABS Deli & Coffee Shop Restaurants. I don’t know Manni Lyl however I do know Johnny Cunningham. I spoke Johnny. All have told their side and this is all I need to know.

My response:

I believe you because I have followed you, seen you in person and read the good things whites have said about your business over the years. I do my homework and I don’t take folk word for what they say no matter who they are family, friends and whomever. Many times that get me in trouble because they get mad until after I do my homework and come back to them with my findings.

A co-worker sent me the piece about the not being served and I said if you had folk waiting to be seated at a certain time after the current event no they could order their food and eat there if it was going to conflict with the upcoming guest. I said I experience this in Greenville and it makes sense not to allow the late comers to the party to eat in but they could order to go.

Ed Wiley’s response:

My dear brother, the most difficult thing we face as restaurant owners, particularly African-American owners, is trying to explain why it’s important to honor reservations with absolute and unconditional fairness. Oftentimes, fellow Black folks will see us escort white people to their seats while they’re still standing at the door or hear us admonish them (when they don’t have a reservation) that we can seat them if they understand that they must relinquish that seat an hour and a half or two hours later to someone with a reservation. Sadly, and outrageously, some people interpret that to mean we love white folks more than them. Now, what do you think happens when there is a complete reversal of racial roles? Now you have white folks believing we’re giving priority seating to Blacks because we hate white people. Crazy world. We just had CBS News visit our restaurant because some lying soul said that we boot out Republicans because we’re Democrats. (No joke!) We will always honor those with reservations, regardless of race. The Black folks — and White folks — who know us are laughing at this foolishness. One last thing, do you know anybody in Rocky Mount who would open up a jazz-themed restaurant IN THE HEART OF THE BLACK COMMUNITY specializing in who didn’t appreciate his own culture and his own people? I could go on about this silliness, but I’ll stop and keep praying that we use common sense over knee-jerk perceptions that don’t make sense. To paraphrase you, I’ll say that for those who don’t know me, do your homework before you judge me.

My final response:

I was not there so I am not taking sides with anyone but I could if I want to based on the facts as presented to me. I would not think that the owner would promote bad business but I was not there so this is between those involved and they would have to come to a final conclusion. However with what has been stated, I believe it could say that it is final but that is just my ignant opinion.

Rocky Mount NC – The Prime Smokehouse Does Not Discriminate

The Prime Smokehouse

I only wish that this message was about a wonderful upcoming event or a spectacular new dish; however, over the past couple months, my wife and I have been approached by numerous people about a rumor that, quite frankly, we thought was too absurd to address.

Last week one of our longtime patrons posed it to me on our Facebook page, and I felt compelled to respond. He said that a friend of his, a regular customer of ours, entered our restaurant wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat, and I asked him/her and several of their guests to leave.

Of course, anyone can choose to believe anything they wish, but the truth is, it never happened.

The good thing is that anybody who knows me and my wife knows how crazy this sounds. People walk into our restaurant every day, wearing red MAGA hats, Confederate flags and even, on a recent occasion, a blazing Nazi insignia. Red MAGA hats have been around for years now. Does anyone believe that the person who fabricated this rumor has been the only one to wear one into Prime Smokehouse? Where are their complaints? Please complainers, post away!

Here’s the standing challenge I asked our longtime customer to pose to his friends whom I allegedly booted out: Tell them that the owner has $10,000 cash for them when they come to confront me about the day (roughly) that they even had a conversation with me about their hats, let alone kicked them out. I have cameras in every corner of my restaurant, so this should be an easy payday for somebody. If, as I told our customer, they refuse to come in to pick up that cash, he should look them square in their faces and tell them what big liars they are. And, hopefully, they will find it in their hearts to apologize to YOU for getting you all fumed up about nothing.

You and I can only speculate why anyone would spend so much time conjuring up such a silly, baseless — almost comical — fairy tale.

Of course, some people will choose to continue believing this lie, and they’ll share the dickens out of it. I can do nothing about that. But to those who relish the truth, now that you have the facts, tell the haters to do more to help heal our fractured city and to stop their misdeeds.

We work harder than most people could begin to understand, and the fuel that drives us is prayer and the knowledge that what God has for us, no man can sabotage. We also believe that we have created spaces — with both The Prime Smokehouse and NABS Deli & Coffee Shop — where everybody can come together, knowing that they are welcome and appreciated.

We know that this too shall come to pass, and we thank you for your continued prayers and support.

Chef Ed

The Political Agitator’s response:

The Prime Smokehouse is just that Prime Time! I have read time and time again about how folk have enjoyed the place as they travel from all over to come to dine in.

It is sad that The Prime Smokehouse has to endure this kind of negativity simply because some folk don’t want to see good things happen on the Edgecombe County side of the city.

It hurts when one has to respond to mess when all one tries to do is to provide a great atmosphere for customers from all walks of life to be able to enjoy a meal.

I feel your pain however the pain will turn into gain.

See you soon!

Please visit The Prime Smokehouse soon especially all of you who have not been before. Those of you who have been know what an awesome place to eat but those of you who have never been, oh you are shortchanging yourself.

Trust me, try me and report back!

I’ll wait!