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BBQ restaurant owners ‘get chills’ after winning $16K fellowship

Daddy Pete’s BBQ beats hundreds of other barbecue restaurants in the country to win the Kingsford inaugural fellowship.
Posted at 6:47 PM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 19:28:39-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Tarra Davis and her husband, Cory, are loving the number three these days.

“We get the chills every time we think about it,” Tarra Davis said during an interview with FOX 17 this week. “I don’t know exactly how many memes there are with the No. 3, but we have meme’d each other multiple times every day. Like, sometimes we’ll just be walking through the restaurant or walking at home, and Cory, he’ll say, ‘Three.’”

On Monday, the Davises were a part of a meeting with Kingsford charcoal company that they thought would include 20-30 people. Then, a representative with the company said they were going to be meeting with the other two winners of the Preserve the Pit $16,000 fellowship.

“No words,” Davis said, taking a brief pause. “There are no words for that. Three? We have been struggling, running this business on our own for so long that it’s amazing to be able to have this opportunity, to be connected to this level of people.”

Davis said besides the money, the fellowship entails business training and mentorship. They're now connected with a restaurant owner in Florida who they’ve been following for years. They’re excited to connect with others too.

“What we’ve decided is every minute of every day for this entire program, we are going to squeeze everything out of it that we can,” Davis said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. They got nearly a thousand applications, and they chose three people in the nation. They chose us in Michigan, up north where it’s not necessarily the place of barbecue.”

A restaurant in North Carolina and one in California were also named recipients.

Davis said they won’t get the $16,000 until the end of the program. Nevertheless, she's grateful they applied. At the time, they were getting several rejection letters from grants they applied for and felt like giving up.

However, the Davises won, and they hope their story will inspire others.

“We do this from a passion,” Davis said. “So, just keep your passion; keep pushing. You never know what tomorrow’s going to bring, and you never know who’s watching.”

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