The Prime Smokehouse is the brainchild of three partners, whose lives have been connected for many years. Ed Wiley III, his wife Yalem Kiros and Harold Worrell, Jr., a lifelong friend, believed that if they opened a restaurant in the small town of Garner, N.C., and made sure that the food was absolutely delicious, the atmosphere warm and cosmopolitan and the service stellar that the possibilities would be limitless. So they leased a 3,000-square-foot property amid beautiful homes and neighbors starving for a slice of city life ...without all the city-life hassles. Together, they created a spot designed to unite across cultures and generations. They incorporated their love for jazz music and Southern cuisine -- particularly authentic Texas-style barbecue -- and eliminated all smoking, except the hickory slow-smoking going on in the kitchen.

In April 2011, the three partners, now joined by new partner Beverly Ringler, decided on another venue, and opened The Prime Smokehouse II in the Farmington Square Shopping Center in southeast Raleigh. Understanding what it would take to invigorate that community, the management team had once again established a popular restaurant that fostered both prosperity and diversity.

After two years in southeast Raleigh, The Prime Smokehouse was approached by city officials in Rocky Mount, who were interested in having their very own Prime Smokehouse. In the midst of a major redevelopment of downtown Rocky Mount, these leaders understood that an anchor business with the reputation of The Prime Smokehouse had the potential to help transform the city by attracting people looking for good places to eat, shop, work and play.

They were right. The Prime Smokehouse is now the premiere destination in eastern North Carolina for those seeking good food especially good barbecue, soul food and southern cuisine and great entertainment. Each weekend, patrons in this crucible of jazz and blues history, are treated to local, regional and national touring musicians and entertainers in addition to good food.

While the initial intent was to have both Prime Smokehouses in operation, the team decided to close the Raleigh location. Thus, The Prime Smokehouse: Barbecue & Beyond, is now exclusively in Rocky Mount, N.C.

We're proud of what we have to offer, and we welcome you to come and see what the fuss is all about.

Ed Wiley III was born in Baltimore, Md., but at an early age moved to Philadelphia, where he worked in the family catering and restaurant business for many years before leaving for college. He attended The King's College in New York; West Coast Christian College in Fresno, California; and graduated from Fresno State University with a bachelor's degree in journalism. During his professional career, he has served as a newspaper reporter; congressional press secretary (Rep. Tony Coelho, former House Majority Whip); magazine editor (Black Issues In Higher Education); Communications Manager (National Wildlife Federation); Managing Editor, Children's Defense Fund; federal court monitor under Judge William E. Bryant; and News Director and Managing Editor of Black Entertainment Television (BET) online division, a post he currently holds. He has also taught journalism at Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C. Ed's responsibilities include ensuring that the kitchen maintains the quality that has become the brand of The Prime Smokehouse. He also oversees marketing, public relations and all editorial services, in addition to handling music bookings.

Alemzewd "Yalem" Kiros was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. At age 5, she moved to Asmara, Eritrea, but spent her formative years in Kenya's capital city of Nairobi. From there, she moved to Haifa, Israel, where she worked at the Baha'I World Center. After nearly two years, she moved to Sri Lanka, where she studied at the renowned College of Acupuncture. She then moved to the Washington, D.C., area and joined the accounting department of the Educational Funding Company. After 15 years with the firm, she attended Marymount University in Virginia, earning a degree in nursing. Over the next several years, she served at such medical centers as Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Duke University Hospital and WakeMed Health System, where she is now employed. Yalem is the company's accounts manager and human resource administrator. In addition to overseeing personnel, payroll and accounting issues, she serves as the community liaison, attending monthly Chamber meetings, weekly Garner Business and Industry meetings, and numerous other pertinent events and activities.

Harold Worrell, Jr. grew up in the Philadelphia suburb of Levittown, Pa., and attended Woodrow Wilson High School, where he was a standout in academics and basketball. He attended historically Black Lincoln University in Chester, Pa., where he studied business administration and played basketball. After two years, he transferred to West Coast Christian College and Fresno State University (concurrently), and was a member of the basketball team. After completing his last year of athletic eligibility, he signed a deal to play professional basketball in South America. After a couple years, he returned to Fresno and began a career with the IRS, where he has served as a tax examiner for the past 24 years. Having traveled throughout the world, Harold brings an incredibly refreshing world view to the overall vibe of The Prime Smokehouse. Harold oversees tax and bookkeeping matters. He is also the person responsible for interfacing with the various service providers to ensure that everything from trash pickup to wine deliveries is done efficiently and on schedule.

Beverly Ringler, who joined The Prime Smokehouse operation in Garner, spent most of her life in the Raleigh-Durham Triangle, where she graduated from W. G. Enloe High School and attended Wake Tech Community College. Her extensive background and diverse training as a cook, bartender, server and restaurant manager has been a tremendous asset to The Prime Smokehouse team. During her tenure as general manager of Smithfield's Chicken 'N BBQ, between 1999 and 2007, she oversaw daily food preparation; ordering and monthly inventory; coordinating large catering orders; and she was credited with significant increases in overall productivity and was regularly assigned to open new stores. She is the catering manager; lead hiring official; oversees scheduling; supervises the wait staff; assists in booking large-group activities and ensures that the prep area and service line run smoothly and efficiently at all times. She also interfaces with the various service providers to ensure that everything, from trash pickup to wine deliveries, is on schedule.