Smo-King Pit Barbecue was founded in 1997 by Michael and Michele Citchens in a small town in Peoria Heights right next to the city of Peoria. At the time, the restaurant was called Citchen's Cafe. The original restaurant served catfish, tenderloin, and club sandwiches. If you wanted a vegetable, you could have potato chips or barbecue beans, or both.

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