EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – It’s all things barbecue all the time for Matthew White. 

“Barbecue was a hobby. It’s something that friends and I would do on the weekends and I would like to think that we got really good at it,” he said.

From backyard basics to culinary training, White has transformed his skill into a profitable business endeavor. In February, he opened his newest restaurant, Dac’s Smokehouse. 

“Opening restaurants is challenging. You really got to get the word out. You got to let people know that you’re here.”

matthew white

The move marks White’s third Dac’s Smokehouse establishment: the first opened in Dunlap in 2019, the second in Peoria and now in East Peoria. The newest location focuses on pick-up and delivery orders, as opposed to seated dining.

White said, “There’s a lot of people who don’t cross the [Illinois River] to come get food and we’re right here for them.”

Everyday challenges have been magnified by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. With state mandates shutting down indoor dining, Dac’s Smokehouse was able to stay afloat with carryout and delivery orders, but with new expenses to account for. 

“Food prices skyrocketed for us in the beginning. I was—it was something we had never seen before. Obviously, not in just this business, but every business,” said White.

But he said the decision to expand was critical and one he doesn’t regret. 

White said, “We need to grow to stay alive. To keep the business running, we’re going to have to grow.”

White is thanking his customers for their help along the way. 

“Our customers are very loyal to us. They supported us through this whole thing. And obviously we couldn’t have done it without them.”

The East Peoria Dac’s Smokehouse location is at 1100 North Main Street.