How it all Began

Lamont and Alisha Hawkins are two young entrepreneurs that decided to take a leap of faith and jump toward their dreams. They opened a takeout restaurant in the Jackson Ward area of Richmond, Virginia in 2014. The 320 square foot building was small, however big enough for the couple to leave an impact on the taste buds of the community.

Everyone assumed that the restaurant earned its name from being on the out skirts of Richmond’s largest public housing complex. But that was not the case at all! The name was born in existence before the location was selected. They loved the location and the people of the community, but differences with the building owner forced the closure of the location. One door was closed and God opened another.

The couple relocated to a building that has been serving the Churchill community since 1970. Carolina Bar B Que located at 3015 Nine Mile Road has been a staple in this Churchill community before the couple was born. The late Thomas “T.C.” and Mildred Harrell decided to retire after 44 years in business. Mr. Harrell had heard about the young entrepreneurs and decided to give them an opportunity. He stated that they reminded him of him and his wife. The Hawkins were alumni of Armstrong High School and remembered making visits to the restaurant as children. It was the perfect opportunity to continue Mr. T.C. and Mrs. Mildred’s legacy. So to celebrate a new beginning and pay homage to the contributions the location has made to the African American restaurant scene in Richmond, Virginia, INNER CITY BLUES home of CAROLINA BAR B QUE was born.