When Xiomara Hall’s husband, U.S. Marine Lt. Col. William Hall died in 2008 while serving in Iraq, running her own restaurant was not even a thought that had crossed her mind.
But in April 2012, Hall, a certified public accountant left to bring up their four children on her own, took over the struggling Lazy Brothers smokehouse on Margarita Road in Murrieta. She renamed it Tropical BBQ and began doing what she knew best due to her Puerto Rican roots: cooking with Caribbean flair.
“Smoking of meats is actually very Caribbean, so we incorporated those Caribbean aspects,” said Hall, a Temecula Wine Country resident.
Now the restaurateur is set to appear on Lifetime’s “Supermarket Superstar,” a show that “gives every day Americans the chance to prove they have the next great product consumers will love,” according to Mylifetime.com.
In the episode scheduled to air at 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, Hall will present her jerk barbecue sauce to three well-known mentors. She and two other contestants will vie to be the winner of the episode and a $10,000 prize, as well as for the chance to be on the show’s finale.
“Win or lose, it is great exposure,” said Hall, when Patch stopped by her restaurant Tuesday.
She described her sauce, which complements many of her menu items, as “a traditional smokehouse barbecue sauce with your brown sugars, your ketchups.”
“And then we kind of spiced it up with jerk seasonings and jalapeno, then brought the heat down with pineapple. It has cilantro also, so it is refreshing. It is a comfortable heat. It is more of a complimentary heat.”
Hall said she had already started the bottling process but in “very, very small stages” because of the associated costs.
“I have worked in the aspect of financially advising other businesses, but this is the first time doing it for myself—taking a struggling, failing business and making it a profitable one.”
Hall, who puts in 10- to 12-hour days, has two full-time employees, Chef Donté Blake and Event and Catering Planner Alex Rios. Beyond that, she said her 18-year-old son helps out on Saturdays, and her other children, ages 15, 12 and 8, also pitch in.
Good things have been happening along the way, she said, such as being personally recommended for the show by a fellow Temecula-area vendor.
Then Wilson Creek Winery stepped up to host a local viewing party for Thursday’s episode, which they plan to show on East Coast time via satellite at 7:30 p.m. The public is invited to the event that begins at 6:30 p.m. and will include samples of Tropical BBQ menu items.
The episode was filmed in February, but Hall has not seen it and said it will be interesting to see herself portrayed on screen.
“It will be fun. We’ll all probably laugh...or cry,” Hall said.
“It took me awhile to dig myself out of that emotional hole of losing my husband, but now I am ready to start new chapters.”