Small Business Spotlight: Black-owned restaurants in Lexington

Small Business Spotlight
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A combination of love and soul, packaged in every hot meal. Two black families are bringing new food experiences to Lexington, as the city shifts to a more diverse and welcoming environment.

“Like we’ll go to the store and somebody will be like, ‘Hey we know you’re opening up that restaurant.’ We’re really proud of what you’re doing,” said Joshua Curry, the co-owner of Lou Lou’s Seafood.

When the doors of Lou Lou’s Seafood open in September, you’ll be able to choose from several delicious meals.

“Crab legs, the shrimp with the corn and potatoes and the egg,” said Nailah Curry, who tested her seafood dishes on her family first. “I did go to culinary school so I would just use him as a guinea pig.”

Her husband Joshua loved every meal.

“One day I was just joking around and I was like you should try to sell it to someone,” Joshua said.

That idea took off and the couple started selling dinners to loved ones. Word spread and soon the community wanted a bite.

“And it got a little overwhelming with a lot of people ordering stuff,” Nailah said.

It pushed the couple to open their own restaurant on Main Street.

Less than two miles away, another black entrepreneur is also preparing to open JJ’s Momma’s Soul Food, which is that Sunday dinner experience.

“Neck bones, collard greens, baked macaroni and cheese,” said. Tyleata Jones.

Jones’ love for cooking started in her grandma’s kitchen.

“We didn’t have to be in the kitchen. I just like to be nosey and be like, ‘What are you cooking,'” she said

Like the Currys, her homemade dinners became a Lexington staple. Jones didn’t think she would have the space to welcome patrons to in October.

“Honestly I thought I’d be at a little gas station, at a convenience store, where I wouldn’t have to do a lot of work,” she said.

But her dream and drive landed her on West Fifth Avenue.

It’s a challenge for these entrepreneurs, working around a pandemic.

“We were suppose to open in April.It just kind of halted everything,” Nailah said.

And as racial tension grows in many communities, including Lexington, Jones has already been served a message of hate.

“We gotta start coming together as people, outside of color,” Jones said.

Because diversity will always be on their menus.

Lexington city officials are excited for the openings of these two businesses. Back in February, Mayor Newell Clark started an initiative to attract more minority businesses to the city.

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