WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – As summer sets in, so do the smells of barbeque at Cockeye BBQ and creamery. Their parking lot fills up with those looking for a summer classic as plans to expand are coming together.
Erik and Stacey Hoover opened Cockeye BBQ off Parkman Road in Warren in 2014 after their mom-and-pop catering operation exploded out of the confines of their home kitchen.
Everyone told Portage County native Erik it was crazy to build the restaurant in the area. Now, they employ 50 people and say they never expected it to grow so big.
The Hoovers just purchased a 12-thousand-square-foot warehouse on Chestnut Stree which will allow them to produce their sauces and rubs themselves instead of outsourcing the production.
“Even until we start making our very own, we can still get those shipments at his bigger warehouse,” Erik said.
Recently, they partnered with Pengion City brewery in Youngstown with a new restaurant inside the facility on East Federal Street. A planned opening is set for Nov. 1.
“Youngstown was a superior logical decision because it’s not far from here, yet it’s far enough that we were getting an awful lot of traffic from the Mahoning Valley area, Mahoning County,” Erik said.
Erik’s love of food started way before Cockeye. It’s rooted in his childhood growing up in Paris Township and his mom’s cooking.
“My mom was unquestionably creative in the way that she found ways to feed us and also have very little waste,” he said.
The tradition will carry on in the family. The Hoover’s two sons Max and Ben manage the creamery and help run the kitchen.
This probably won’t be the last new thing for Cockeye or the Hoover family.
“I’m ready for a new thing,” he said.