Our December Business Spotlight is Smokin’ Mills Steakhouse, owned and operated by Justin and Tenecia Mills.
Justin was born and raised in Star City, while Tenecia was born in Watson Chapel. Justin started his career at the Pine Bluff Arsenal and worked there for 7 years. Afterwards, he worked as a millwright in multiple plants throughout different parts of the United States. Tenecia has been a registered nurse for 13 years and works for WellPath – a company that focuses on nursing operations in different correctional facilities and challenging clinical environments. Justin says he has always loved cooking and most of his skill is basically self-taught after years of backyard grilling. While working his day jobs, he catered food as a side business for years but their new journey in the food industry started after borrowing a electric smoker from his mother-in-law. After smoking a few meats on the newly borrowed smoker and realizing how good his food was, Tenecia and friends convinced Justin to open up a restaurant. In August 2019, they opened up Smokin’ Mills BBQ in town. With a rising demand, they quickly outgrew that building so they moved to their new and current location in May of 2020. After opening, the BBQ restaurant started to serve steaks which were a huge success. With a perfect marinated steak and desire to have a steakhouse, the couple decided to expand and open up a steakhouse next door in the old Village Steakhouse location. The menu is almost entirely new and includes multiple varieties of steaks, seafood, pasta, salads, appetizers, and desserts!
Even with all the success and expansion into a new restaurant, the two establishments haven’t been immune to the same problems other restaurants are facing this year. COVID has brought many challenges which have forced them to be adaptive and flexible with how they run the two businesses. There is no doubt that this year has brought uncontrollable challenges, but they continue to find ways to bring the community two distinguishably different menus for all taste types and offer a unique dinning experience not found in many parts of Southeast Arkansas. The two also have plans to add some additional features to the steakhouse that will allow them to expand their capabilities to accommodate future endeavors.
The dream of owning their own restaurants has been a welcomed addition to our town and brings back a sense of nostalgia from years past. We are incredibly lucky to have them located here and are wishing them nothing but the best in future years. If you haven’t had a chance to taste their famously marinated steaks and other dishes, we highly recommend you swing by and give them a try- you won’t be disappointed!
They are located at 156 Knight Haven Cir in Star City, AR. Their phone number is 870-628-5053 and you can find them on Facebook.
As always, we appreciate their support and membership to the Star City Area Chamber of Commerce.