Copyright 2024


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 Manager 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.