Vickey’s Kitchen: A Beloved Havana Restaurant
Vickey’s Kitchen is a Black, woman-owned business run by Vickey Chandler. After opening in 2019, Vickey was concerned with how residents would perceive the restaurant. Fortunately, the community’s support quickly made Vickey’s Kitchen a household name.
Vickey’s Kitchen started as a pop-up eatery at local car shows and festivals. Vickey’s Kitchen expanded to a mobile food truck as support grew before becoming stationary along US-27, the Florida-Georgia Highway. To Vickey’s surprise, the COVID-19 pandemic positively impacted business. It gave her the time necessary to refurbish the old Coca-Cola delivery truck she purchased into a mobile kitchen and added outdoor seating to accommodate customers.
As the business expanded, Vickey’s husband and sons got more involved in the day-to-day operations. Her husband helps out on the weekends when he is not trucking, while their sons have a more active role in day-to-day operations. Vickey is currently training them to take over daily operations, allowing her to step into a managerial role. Vickey emphasized the importance of ensuring that the food quality remains the same despite who cooks the food.
With dreams of further expansion, Vickey hopes to turn her business into her family’s legacy. The family recently purchased a dilapidated building next to their food truck and is considering turning it into a smokehouse or lounge. They have also gained additional customers by advertising on multiple radio stations in Gadsden County. Famous for its food and strawberry lemonade, Vickey’s Kitchen is quickly becoming a Havana staple for residents and tourists visiting Gadsden County.