BLACK HISTORY MONTH: BBQ restaurant owner aims for success through hard work and perseverance

Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 10:28 PM CST
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EAST PEORIA (25 News Now) - After trial and error and plenty of sauce, one local man is ready to make his restaurant a smokin’ success.

25News is highlighting Black-owned businesses throughout Black History Month in February.

Despite plenty of hurdles, Henry Marizetts is ready to make his fourth restaurant, ‘4 Corners Smokehouse’ a success.

“The passion of smoking. That’s what kept me going. I didn’t want to give that up because that’s what I like to do,” Marizetts said.

Marizetts has been in the restaurant business for more than a decade. His most recent shop was Smokewagon in East Peoria but closed it down at the end of 2021.

“My whole goal when I started this back in 2012 was to be a small hole in the wall BBQ joint kind of like down south. I grew up in Greenville Mississippi,” said Marizetts.

He took $12,000 in now forgiven PPP loans and says that all went to pay for about a month of salaries and supplies.

“A lot of them I had to close or rethink things because it didn’t work out like I wanted to, but finally it all ended up working out,” said Marizetts.

With each business, a new lesson was learned.

The 52-year-old didn’t have anyone to show him how to run a restaurant or resources like the Minority Business Development Center in Peoria.

So, he learned by trial and error.

“Hardest part of it is the stress involved. Keeping up on taxes, inventory, dealing with the slow times and the big times,” said Marizetts.

However, he never gave up. The Navy veteran spent the last year remodeling ‘4 Corners Smokehouse’ while working a 9 to 5 at one of the big manufacturers here.

“Working 18, 20 hours days to make this work. I wanted to prove everybody wrong, and I did,” said Marizetts.

He doesn’t want this to be the journey others have to take. One day, he hopes to coach other young entrepreneurs, giving them a path to start and operate their own business.

“I had to learn the hard way. That was one of the largest hurdles I had to overcome,” said Marizetts.

In the next few years, he hopes to pay off the building and create a stage for jazz bands to perform.

“I’ve still got a lot to go. I’m not finished yet,” said Marizetts “Until then, it’s hard work, grinding and keep going.”

4 Corners Smokehouse is located at 4290 Springfield Rd, East Peoria.