Starting their culinary journey as a local food truck, owner Nicole Gates and chef Karim Bryant are the dynamic duo that created this little but mighty spot in Overtown, serving up incredible soul-food dishes that do not disappoint. We sat down with Nicole to talk about what makes Lil Greenhouse Grill so unique.
How did Lil Greenhouse Grill first come to be?
Lil Greenhouse Grill was birthed out of a need for a dine-in family-style restaurant that served dinner and provided entertainment to a community that had to travel to other places to have dinner with family.
Any significance to the “Lil” in the name?
Absolutely. It’s because we are a bit smaller than “Little!” “Lil” is slang for “little” but carries a BIG personality! That’s who we are…small in size but huge in quality and customer service.
There’s no doubt about that! Also big is the taste category! What type of food are you serving?
American soul-inspired cuisine. It’s classic African-American soul-food featuring vegetarian and healthy prepared options.
Is there a fan-favorite dish that you create?
Sure is! We have many, but our best-selling item is the BBQ ribs, smoked in-house with applewood and hickory! The sauce is the superstar!
Those look amazing! Your business is located in one of Miami’s oldest and most historical neighborhoods. What has been the greatest thing about growing your business in Overtown?
Being able to contribute to the economic growth and progressively positive narrative that is drawing people to our soulful community!
What has been the most challenging thing?
The economy. Changes to how consumers use restaurants have caused us to be creative in our offerings, messaging, and how we get our food to customers.
Even during those challenges, you’ve always made it a point to help your community. Talk to us about how your business has been able to support those in need.
During the pandemic, Chef Bryant and our entire team here at Lil Greenhouse Grill joined together with World Central Kitchen and Food Rescue US to provide hot and healthy meals on a weekly basis to those that were in need.
You’re rockstars. What’s something you’re most proud of about your business?
Our superior ratings on Google and Yelp. The people have spoken, and we appreciate their feedback, which is ultimately the architect of our business.
We hear even Oprah got a taste of your delicious food! Tell us about that experience.
She did! It was amazing to have Oprah, Gayle King, and CBS shine a light on our business. Three years later, we are still feeling the effects of that powerful visit. We’re grateful our work ethic and pursuit of excellence were worthy.
What a cool memory! We also hear you were one of the recipients to the Udonis Haslem Foundation’s Small Business Grant. How were you and your business positivity effected from receiving the grant?
Wow! Just wow! To be one of the first recipients of the Udonis Haslem Foundation Small Business Grant was so encouraging and humbling. Those funds are preparing us to go to the next level in branding, marketing, and expansion. Those funds helped us to add to our catering department and are giving us a competitive edge in a very saturated market. Catering has proven to be a great source of revenue for our business.
Being a local Black-owned business, what are words of wisdom you can pass along to others looking to start their businesses?
It's an honor and a privilege to be a Black-owned business. It's our responsibility to be a GOOD business.