Young, Gifted, and Black
The New Generation of Culinary Creators in Tallahassee
A stroke of culinary genius is spreading throughout Tallahassee, and it is inspiring a new generation of young, gifted, and black entrepreneurs. Three businesses- Bourne Brilliant, The Chocolate Dandies, and Gurlie’s Lemonade have been filling bellies and dominating headlines with their creative approaches to sweet treats and cuisine. Each business offers a unique experience for food lovers crafted by a new generation of young people dedicated to uplifting their communities through culinary arts.
Created by sisters Lyrica (13), Zaira (12), and Nadira (9) Leo, Bourne Brilliant offers plant-based meals, desserts, drinks and other vegan products at their newly opened shop in Railroad Square. What started as a way to raise money for local charities has grown into a local phenomenon. The three girls have been in business for years, previously selling their cakes and juices at festivals, events, farmers markets. Opening their first brick and mortar location in July, each sister plays a critical role to the success of the business. Lyrica is the head chef, Zaira manages finances, and Nadira oversees inventory and operations.
The outcome of their hard work is incredible food crafted with fresh and natural ingredients. Lunch is served on Saturdays with their hot meal combos including a choice of a protein, vegetable, and starch. Some top options are their barbeque drumsticks, candied yams, and jollof. Menus are posted ahead of time on their Facebook. Other vegan items for sale include natural preserves, flavored figs, and herbal teas. This local eatery is a must for visitors looking for healthy food and treats crafted from the brilliant minds of three young entrepreneurs.
The Chocolate Dandies
Serving up sweet treats in style, Chocolate Dandies is the most recent business created from three young business owners with a vision. Noble (13), Royal (12), and Knight (10) launched their brownie business in June of this year. The business’ name was inspired by the 1920’s musical “The Chocolate Dandies” co-written by their great-grandfather Noble Sissle.
The brothers make their own deliveries and sell their brownies at the Tallahassee Downtown Market every Saturday. Most often they can be spotted in their collared yellow shirts, bow ties, and suspenders. The menu is a chocolate lover’s dream. Peanut butter fudge, espresso, and cheesecake brownies are just a few of the pastries crafted to satisfy your sweet tooth. Customers have the option of ordering a single brownie or a full batch- all available at their website. The Noble brothers are currently working to open their own food truck, so be sure to support their growing business on your next trip to Tallahassee.
Gurlie’s Lemonade & Sweets
Fried Oreos and lemonade are on the menu at Gurlie’s Lemonade- and people travel from all over for a taste of their signature creations. Launched in 2019 by best friends Marquis Williams and Demetrius Murray, their sweet creations have quickly become a Tallahassee treasure. The pair (both 28) grew up enjoying Williams’s grandmother’s lemonade and famous fried Oreos, and today work to uphold her legacy through their business. With this foundation, Gurlie’s Lemonade & Sweets has mastered the art of not only making great food but bringing people together. This is the message they share with customers, and they would all agree that Williams and Murray’s focus on the sweeter side of life is the secret ingredient to their success.
Together they have overcome many obstacles, yet they remain focused on giving back as much as they can. Their story of community recently landed them on the Today Show as part of their Black Businesses of America special. If you’re looking for something sweet while in Tallahassee, their food truck is located near FAMU’s campus and is open for business Monday through Saturday. You can get more information directly from the duo at their Facebook page.
These three businesses are the latest sweet sensations from a new generation of entrepreneurs in Tallahassee, showing that with the right ideas and hard work, anything is possible. These young, black, and creative business owners continue to work their way into the hearts of customers one bite at a time.