By Chrissy Cifuentes 

The owner of “We Dat’s Chicken and Shrimp”, Greg Tillery, grew up with huge dreams of making an impact in his city of New Orleans. He is now an accomplished restaurant owner and continues to move forward with new, exciting aspirations of success. “I worked very hard to make this dream become a reality,” said Tillery. “And it all started with a food truck.” 

Tillery is a native of New Orleans and a graduate from Edna Carr high school. As long as he can remember, he always had a dream of owning his own business. That vision manifested when he started “We Dat’s Chicken and Shrimp”, and the rest was deep-fried history. “I bought my first food truck, and I knew that it would take off,” said Tillery. “People were loving the food and the flavors, so I knew it was time to find a permanent location.”
The location that started it all is 1407 Canal Street in New Orleans. “I knew that I wanted a restaurant that people could come to enjoy the food. That is the difference between a food truck and a sit down restaurant. People can either take their order or sit down and enjoy the atmosphere.” Not only was obtaining the new location a history making move for the business, but it also made New Orleans history. “We Dat Chicken and Shrimp” is the first black owned local business to be located on Canal Street. “It is such an honor to say that I am the first black owned restaurant on Canal,” said Tillery. “It is such a powerful accomplishment for me and so many others.” 

According to Tillery, his success is attributed to dedication, encouragement from family and friends, and guidance of God. Without these things, his restaurant would not be the New Orleans staple that is today. “I can remember asking God to open doors, and He did it for us. In my times of struggles, there would always be someone there who believed in our vision and that is why we are where we are today.” With a restaurant on Canal and another in Old Gentilly, Tillery is excited to be launching a store on the West Bank. “We are opening up another location for people all across the city to experience our flavorful dishes.” 

Like all great chefs, Tillery has an impacting story behind his cooking. It all started by watching his mother. “I would watch my mother in the kitchen, and I believe that it is what inspired me to start cooking,” stated Tillery. “I did not go to culinary school. Everything I learned, I really learned from her.”
Tillery mentioned that his wings are the biggest hit on his menu, and to him, it’s hard not to cheer someone up with a plate of hot wings. “I chose wings as my signature because it is universal food. Everyone loves fried wings, and there is just something so comforting about them,” he said. “Personally, when I am having a bad day, some good fried chicken wings lift my spirits.” 

Owning multiple “We Dat’s Chicken and Shrimp” locations is a plate full; however, Tillery is not finished spreading the flavor across the state. “We wanted to give everyone the opportunity to taste our food, so that’s why we created our seasoning,” he said. According to Tillery, the We Dat’s seasoning is a perfect way for at home chefs to taste a piece of his flavor. “You can go online and order the seasoning, or find it in multiple groceries throughout the state.” 

Whether it is frying up chicken, hosting local celebrities, mingling with patrons or posting on social media, Tillery knows how to capture the flavor of New Orleans. He encourages those in his great city to chase their dreams, because everything is possible with God, hard work, and the love of others. “If I can do it, anyone can,” he said. “I am the proof that anything can happen with God.”