By Nyesha Stone
Family means everything to new business owner James Rhodes. He spent six years living in De Queen, Arkansas and for five of those months he had his own barbeque restaurant. The nearest barbeque place, other than Rhodes, was 45 minutes away, so it’s no wonder business was booming.
Rhodes has recently moved back to Milwaukee to open his restaurant: Holy Smokes BBQ, right here in town. Running a business can be difficult if you’re trying to sustain it by yourself, so Rhodes decided to ask his family for help. With his three sons, eight brothers, eight sisters and at least 11 grandchildren, Rhodes has no doubt his new restaurant will be a success.
Holy Smokes officially opened on Oct. 5, but it will be having its grand opening Oct. 14 on 76th and Bobolink.
He received his culinary degree from Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, WI. Once he graduated, he worked for a sports bar in Green Bay and then moved on to something bigger—he began working for Bellin Hospital Green Bay for six years. This hospital was owned by the Green Bay Packers which means Rhodes was always busy feeding people.
“I just do one at a time and stay focused,” said Rhodes.
College taught Rhodes how to provide great customer service, which he will be providing in his new restaurant.
Every Sunday, Holy Smokes will host a Soul Food Sunday, and with Rhodes being a church man, the restaurant won’t open until 11 a.m.
“I’m a Christian [and] I love the Lord,” said Rhodes. “We’ll always put God first.”
Of course, Rhodes will be serving barbeque at his restaurant, but that won’t be the only thing— fish, pork chops, pizza, chicken nuggets and more will be available for purchase.
Rhodes feels blessed to have his family so close to him again—he believes his restaurant has brought his family closer together. He’s always felt family was important, so to have them helping him with his business means the world to him.
“I think I’ll be more successful with my family,” said Rhodes.
With his new family business, Rhodes hopes to inspire other families to start their own businesses together.
It’s not just about the business for Rhodes, he really does love cooking— while residing in De Queen he grew his own garden.
Rhodes is happy to know that his restaurant will impact the community in a positive way.
“It’ll be a good environment to eat,” said Rhodes.
Rhodes has been preparing his family for the restaurant life by teaching them how to be consistent, to work as a team, and to always remember to be professional.
For Rhodes, God comes first, then family, and, last but not least, Holy Smokes.
Before the restaurant opened, 20-30 people a day would visit Holy Smokes in hopes of seeing an “open” sign, and now they’re wishes has been answered.
Holy Smokes is officially open.