MUSKEGON — As with many festivals this year, the annual Taste of Muskegon is going virtual. Close to 40 restaurants and food trucks will be part of the event June 19-28, including a newcomer this year with a very special backstory.
Lott and Big Weezy's Kitchen and its partner restaurant, Lott on the Lakeshore are rookies to this year's festival. But the passion for serving their community through a good meal has been there a long time.
Angela Turner is the mastermind behind some delicious dishes at Lott on the Lakeshore, while soul food chef, Tawayne 'Big Weezy' Davis serves up his own southern-inspired dishes at Lott and Big Weezy's Kitchen in Muskegon Heights.
It's with the help of businesswoman Phyllis Loudermill that both were able to turn their lives around.
"One of the things that's very apparent about the two other co-owners with me is that they're excellent at what they do. But, they also had a past as well,' Loudermill explained.
For the past two years, she has given restaurant jobs to people who've once served time in jail. This year, she's excited to showcase the culinary talents of her co-owners as they make their debut in Taste of Muskegon, June 19-28.
"This is like a step up for us," Loudermill said. "I think the biggest thing is trying to make sure we found a menu that would excite those taste buds."
It's their backstory and their passion that really made organizers of Taste of Muskegon excited to have them on board this year.
"Lot and Big Weezy has quite a story to tell with giving people a step up in the community,' explained Taste Marketing Director, Lisa Kraus. "Taking people from backgrounds that are often left out and marginalized in our society and plus it's a woman owned business and minority owned so we're always excited to support that in our community as well."
"I think that what the city's going to find is that we love being here and we love pleasing them,' Loudermill added. "I think when they taste our food, they are going to be excited. Their life will never be the same ever again!"