Before the Pyramid rose in response to the new-fangled pharaohs of the Mid-South, before B.B. and his blues bought back Beale, Raymond Robinson stoked the fire under his first slab in a small store at the corner of North Parkway and Manassas. Twenty five years later, Raymond's passed on, but his smoke and his story still live. On a stool behind the counter sits Desiree, Raymond's widow. The pendant dangling from the golden chain around her neck suggests simply TRY GOD. Her chin tilted toward the ceiling, her eyes far off behind her glasses. If she was looking out, she would see the dot matrix computer paper banner hanging over the entrance to the dining room.
Nobody's always right but Jesus But she's looking in, remembering Raymond. "What was that he used to say?," she asks herself, eyes still.
You can tell she knows it. She's just putting it together, dragging it out from somewhere deep in her head or heart. "He used to say, 'My desire is to serve a few people the best they ever had.'"
On this philosophy Raymond raised a business around his family and a family around his business, each so much a part of the other that trying to tell them apart would be as impossible as sucking the smoke out of a rib.