CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Clovis community lost a beloved BBQ master this week. Family members say Phill Young, the owner of Phill's Corner Grill BBQ inside of Peacock Market, has passed away.
"The smell has changed. There is no smoker outside. It's just different," said Ronald Meyers, owner of Peacock Market.
For years, customers came just to get a taste of what Phill Young was cooking: tri-tip, ribs, burritos and more.
And to spend time with the man behind the grill, or as he called it, his "grill-friend."
"Every morning people came for his breakfast burritos. He did something. I don't know what he put in them but something in the eggs," said Meyers. "Everyone came and they were like, 'I want that egg burrito.' All the time. We would sell hundreds of them."
A BBQ business of his own was a dream come true for Phill after 40-plus years in the restaurant business, working his way up from dishwashing to management. His sons say he learned everything he knew from his mom.
"It was everything for him. That is what he always wanted," said his son Jarron Young. "He accomplished it and he took pride in it."
Phill took pride in being one of the few black business owners in the Clovis community.
"He was very well appreciated and accepted," said Jarron.
His customers loved Phill right back.
"He just won a trophy for the best ribs. That is the second trophy in two years," said his son Phillip Young Jr.
"He used to have all his trophies stacked up out there and you would see that," said Meyers.
At the end of January, Phill's lease ended at Peacock Market. He closed shop to get much-needed knee surgery.
"You'll see more of me after they fix my knee," Phill said in a video.
His plan was to return to cooking through catering. He was already in demand with clients, including the local school districts and Fresno State Athletics.
"I guess we didn't have an opportunity to see that happen," said Meyers.
Phill died unexpectedly Tuesday at the age of 56. His sons already have plans to carry on everything their father taught them in the kitchen.
"That's all he did. Teach. Teach and preach," said his son. "We worked closely with him a lot and we know what he wanted to do. And we know how he did what he wanted to do so we are just going to keep it going."
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