Nearly four months after receiving a visit from Keith Lee, this Chicago, IL-based restaurateur is still reaping the benefits.
On Sept. 16, 2023, the TikTok food critique posted his review of the Soul Prime restaurant founded by Shonya “Chef Royce” Williams. Food items displayed in the 5:48-minute video included Chef Royce’s collard green dip (8/10 rating), hot chicken wings(8.7/10 rating), corn bread muffins (9.3/10 rating), and short rib tacos (9.2/10), among others.
In the TikTok video, Lee says he went inside the restaurant to speak with Williams. He was so impressed with the food, he wanted to provide her with constructive criticism so she would be prepared for the influx of customers that could potentially come her way. During their conversation, Lee also learned about Williams’ struggles.
The restaurant had been in business for only four months and she was having trouble paying staff.
“I don’t know what to do to improve my sales. I am so physically tired and drained every day, and I don’t have enough money to pay proper staff like managers. … This is really tough,” Williams wrote in a text to a loved one just one day before Lee’s arrival, according to Chicago Sun-Times.
The fate of Williams and her restaurant would soon take a turn for the better. Since Lee shared the video on TikTok, it has surpassed 9 million views and has garnered 1.2 million likes (at the time of this writing.)
Lee had also matched Williams sales for the day, leaving the restaurant with profits of an additional $2,200. The moment Lee shared his intentions, she was brought to tears.
“The most profound moment was when he took my hand and he thought enough to just pray for me,” Williams expressed to Chicago Sun-Times. “We took a picture and he started calling me his auntie.”
What’s more, the blessings have continued to pour in. The visibility has created great exposure for Soul Prime. In fact, the outlet notes the restaurant had to turn interested customers away following the visit from Lee. Today, the business is still seeing a consistent stream of income.
“The blessing that Keith Lee was to us was just absolutely amazing,” said Willie “Unique” Hearan IV, Royce’s 25-year-old nephew and employee, per the Chicago Sun-Times. “That day changed our lives forever.”
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