The city of Atlanta boasts the most Black-owned business nationwide, and a good amount of them are founded by celebrities, so it shouldn’t necessarily be a shock Lil Baby is up next in line. On July 15, the “Merch Madness” rapper hosted the ribbon ceremony for his new seafood restaurant, which aims to shake up the Atlanta restaurant scene, according to the company’s website.
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The entrepreneur teamed up with a fellow businessman, Chad Dillion, the brains behind Atlanta’s The Boiler Seafood. Through their partnership, they believe the Seafood Menu Restaurant & Lounge will be a place that offers visitors amazing food at an affordable “a unique dining atmosphere where guests can savor delectable seafood dishes while immersing themselves in an ambiance that pays homage to the rich history of hip-hop music.”
The Grammy-winning artist used this opportunity to give back to his community by hiring people within it to lead and collaborate with. Outside of his mentorship with Dillion, Lil Baby hired a local Black woman named Jasmine Smith to lead the direction of the establishment’s interior design.
“When they showed me the location, I saw that it was in the heart of Atlanta,” Smith said according to Essence. “I first came to them for any info that they had, and Baby and Chad pretty much agreed that they wanted something that was for our culture.”
“That’s how I came up with the wall design,” she added. “I took Baby’s favorite R&B and hip hop artists, along with Atlanta’s monumental establishments like the Braves’ stadium and The Varsity, and other places he visited growing up. So, I wanted the interior to feel like home. I wanted it to feel like Atlanta.”
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The new restaurant’s menu provides guests with a range of seafood options like crab legs, shrimp, lobster tail, catfish, salmon and more that are fairly priced. They also make seven “tantalizing” sauces in-house for the crab legs, including lemon zest butter and sweet chili butter.
“Carribean Jerk is my current favorite,” Lil Baby said. “Every time I try a new sauce, it becomes my favorite, but lately, the jerk sauce has been hitting differently.”
The father of two started this journey because he doesn’t want his music career to be his only stream of income. In a statement on the restaurant’s website, he said he chose the restaurant business because there’s longevity in it.
“Restaurants are one of the few businesses that have lasted for 50 years, standing strong even through the challenges of the pandemic. I believe in the power of endurance,” he said.
Going forward, he hopes for the Seafood Menu Restaurant & Lounge to become a franchise worldwide, as well as work to distribute his customized sauces to grocery stores nationwide.