Date Published: March 21, 2024

If you walk into Smoke’N Ash BBQ in Arlington, Texas, you’ll be greeted by two things.

First to greet you will likely be the smiling faces of owners Patrick and Fasicka Hicks. Secondly, you’ll be welcomed by a wall of plaques, each representing a different publication in which the restaurant was featured.

From Texas Monthly to the New York Times, you’ll find thousands of words written across a dozen different outlets, each sharing the same astonished reaction to (and profound love for) one of the most unique culinary inventions they’ve ever encountered: a “Texas-Ethiopian Smokehouse.”

A Culinary Innovation: The Birth of Tex-Ethiopian Barbecue
Born and raised in Waco, Texas, Patrick Hicks learned the art of barbecuing from his family members at a young age. On the other side of the globe, Fasicka was raised in a food-centric family as well, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

When the pair married, their families and cultures quickly merged, shaping the foundations of what would eventually become Smoke’N Ash. After preparing the food for several family gatherings, Patrick and Fasicka discovered that not only did they enjoy cooking together, but the blend of their two culinary styles created something special. They started their business with a traveling smoker trailer they’d use to cater events. Just a couple years later, they were opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant location. As the restaurant continued to grow, Patrick and Fasicka knew they would need help from a financial institution to help make their dreams a reality.

EECU: A Partner in Growth
When Patrick and Fasicka realized that they were rapidly outgrowing their space and resources, they reached out to EECU to help fund the next phase of growth in a new location. The Hickses had already become familiar with the staff at EECU when they opened a business checking account a few years earlier, and they were excited to work together to help grow their business.

But EECU’s role in Smoke'N Ash's story goes beyond financial assistance; it's about a shared vision for success. "We got this dream to become a reality with the support of EECU," Fasicka mentions, highlighting the personal and invested approach EECU took in their venture. Patrick adds that the EECU staff have become frequent visitors at their restaurant, always calling to check in and help any way they can. "They're like family to us now.”

A Symbol of Inclusivity and Opportunity
Fasicka's reflections on her journey from Ethiopia to becoming a celebrated restauranteur highlight the inclusivity and opportunities available within this community. EECU’s willingness to invest in a minority-owned business, one that was only two years old at the time, showcases their commitment to fostering local entrepreneurship and diversity.

A Taste of Success
When you dine at Smoke'N Ash BBQ, it’s more than just a meal. It's a celebration of hard work, a representation of a rich heritage, and a testament to the power of community. EECU is proud to work with entrepreneurs and business owners every day to bring their dreams to life.

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