Family affair

Soul food is a family affair for the Gilliam sisters – The Famuan

Yashica Gilliam, left, and Sheree Gilliam. Photo credit: Yashica Gilliam

The Gilliam Sisters Soul Food restaurant on West Tharpe Street has quickly become a staple of the local food scene.

Growing up, Yashica Gilliam and her sister Sheree Gilliam were always in the kitchen with their mother and grandmothers, who were amazing cooks who taught them everything they knew. Gilliam Sisters Soul Food opened on January 28, but it’s not their first rodeo. In 2021, the sisters opened their first restaurant called Sassy’s Place on Macomb Street in Frenchtown.

Those who come to this family restaurant know that they will receive every plate full of love. Simone Washington loves soul food. “I stopped on the way back from FAMU so it was a bit crowded but the food was worth the wait,” she said.

She also adds her regret for not being quick with her camera.

“I’m a little ashamed to say I didn’t get a single shot because I tore this food apart quickly,” Washington said. “I don’t remember which ‘sister’ served us that day, but she was so hospitable. It added to that southern charm that this restaurant naturally has.

Upon entering the kitchen, you can feel the love and joy in the building and it might have something to do with Yashica and Sheree working with their family. Yashica loves working with her family and says it’s always a great choice to have your family with you in all of your endeavors.

“I chose my family because I believe that to create an authentic home-like atmosphere, it helps to start with a replica of my house,” Yashica said. “I also chose family because family is the core of all success. There is a level of support and dedication that comes from working within a family that is often absent from a job surrounded by There’s also the chemistry in the flow of the business that comes from working as a family, because we’re a family, we execute tasks with precision, and that’s necessary to produce authentic soul food.

“Special recipes that have been kept in the family can stay that way because you are family,” she added. “We all know the tastes we grew up with, and even if someone doesn’t know how to produce it, you know what the finished product is supposed to be. Running a business also requires great sacrifice and even understanding. Running a business with family allows for flexibility and a support system that’s ready to do anything to ensure the business’s success because it’s a win for the family.

Yashica dreams of expanding and opening another restaurant, so that everyone can sit at the table.