Cozy Corner matriarch Desiree Robinson inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame
On Tuesday, Desiree Robinson, the matriarch behind Cozy Corner, was inducted into The American Royal Barbecue Hall of Fame.
Each year three individuals are awarded the prestigious honor and are recognized by the Barbecue Hall of Fame for their significant contributions to the barbecue community and demonstration of achievement in barbecue excellence.
Melissa Cookston of Memphis Barbecue Co. presented Robinson the award at Cozy Corner.
'It is an absolute honor to present the BBQ Hall of Fame award to Mrs. Desiree Robinson of the famed Memphis BBQ institution, Cozy Corner Restaurant. Mrs. Robinson has ensured the legacy of her late husband Ray’s 43-year old business continues to thrive through hardships and good times with love, dedication, hard work, and great BBQ — that is what BBQ is all about,” said Cookston, who was a 2017 Barbecue Hall of Fame inductee.
The induction ceremony was to take place Sept. 19 during the 2020 American Royal World Series of Barbecue at the Kansas Speedway, but that event was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"This means so much to me," Robinson said of the honor. "But most of all, I thank God for it. It is a blessing to me from God."
Cozy Corner, a Memphis barbecue institution with four generations of the Robinson family cooking, is known for its ribs with a dark mahogany bark and Cornish game hens.
Robinson and her husband, Raymond Robinson, started Cozy Corner Restaurant in August 1977. When her husband died in 2001, Robinson took over the business along with their children, Val and Ray Jr. Now that Robinson is semi-retired, the restaurant is run by Robinson's two grandsons, Bobby and Sean, and her daughter Val, with her two granddaughters functioning in support roles.
Robinson was selected from a field of nine semifinalists announced in early May. The other two 2020 inductees to the Barbecue Hall of Fame are Aaron Franklin of Austin, Texas, and Joe Don Davidson of Stillwater and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
Cookston of Memphis Barbecue Co. was inducted into the hall of fame in 2017 and Charlie Vergos of The Rendezvous was posthumously inducted in 2018.
Jennifer Chandler is the Food & Dining reporter at The Commercial Appeal. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @cookwjennifer.