Restaurants

Joe Biden and George Floyd’s Family Hold Their Emotional Meeting in a Black-Owned Houston Restaurant — Family Eats at Another Black Business After Public Viewing

Powerful Statements of Change

BY // 06.08.20

When former vice president Joe Biden and his wife Jill met with the family of the late George Floyd before Monday’s public viewing memorial, they shared their empathetic exchange in Lucille’s, the African-American owned restaurant in Houston’s Museum District. And when the Floyd family and closest of friends met up after Monday’s public viewing, they gathered at Upper Kirby Bistro, an African-American owned newcomer to the restaurant scene.

The Bidens’ private visit with the Floyd family was hosted by Lucille’s chef/owner Chris Williams, who not only welcomed the group but also prepared a number of his brunch specials including the house favorite Croissant French Toast. While Williams pulled out all the stops with his brunch items such as fried chicken and waffles, the Bidens offered condolences for Floyd’s murder on May 25 at the knee of a Minneapolis police officer.

The restaurant, which is normally closed on Mondays, opened for the special visitation. Lucille’s, know for its refined Southern cooking , only recently reopened for table service, having survived the coronavirus pandemic stay-at-home orders with takeout and delivery.

The location of the meet-up was especially poignant as the restaurant was named after Williams’ great-grandmother, Lucille B. Smith, an African-American entrepreneur, chef, educator, inventor and food corporation founder and president. She counted President Lyndon B. Johnson, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and Joe Louis among her friends and fans. And during the Civil Rights movement, she had the honor of serving Dr. Martin Luther King.

By early evening, Joycelyn “Mama Joyce” Williams welcomed the Floyd family to the Upper Kirby Bistro, located on Virginia in the near-River Oaks location of the former Corner Table and Red Room. The African-American business took over the space several months ago creating a soul food-inspired restaurant at ground level and a cigar bar on the second floor. The duo of businessmen who are behind the reimagining of the space have plans to expand into other concepts in the works.

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