By Lena Foster
People stood outside Rickey Booker’s and Jonathan Biley-Smith’s little black trailer outside of their previous nightclub King of Diamonds until the sun came up waiting for their Southern-style fried cuisines with their original all-purpose seasonings and wing sauces.
This then birthed the Breakfast Brothers in 2017. Booker and Biley-Smith, co-owners and founders of the business, didn’t initially intend to make it the company it is today.
“We weren’t really trying to make it a business or corporation at that particular time. We’re just trying to feed the people that were coming to the nightclub.
Their small 10-15 item menu at the time consisting of catfish baskets, pork chop baskets and wing baskets made Breakfast Brothers a staple for other nightclubs in Dallas including Pink Lounge. According to Booker, their trailer was parked outside of one nightclub after another and people were interested in seeing what Breakfast Brothers offered, but because of their “illegal food truck,” which they ran without permits, they had to pull the plug.
However, that didn’t stop Breakfast Brothers from developing the business and being a part of the nightclub entertainment experience.
Booker and Biley-Smith started subleasing kitchens inside of nightclubs in 2019. They started DG’s A Gentlemens Club in Dallas and worked their way throughout the metroplex. They were also involved with a corporation with nightclubs in Abilene, San Antonio, Austin and Odessa.
“People really want this food. They follow us everywhere,” Booker said. “We started really getting innovative towards the brand and the name when we started subleasing the kitchens inside of other entertainment clubs.”
Once the pandemic happened and after researching during this downtime, the Breakfast Brothers decided to get a mobile truck to sell their food before they discovered a place for sale to establish their brick and mortar business for Breakfast Brothers.
Breakfast Brothers, a Black-owned business, combines the cravings a person can desire at breakfast with the hearty and soulful meals a customer would have to wait until lunchtime or dinner time for.
With some of the business’s classics such as their catfish and red velvet waffle, fried salmon and pancakes, chicken and french toast, shrimp and grits, pork chops and pancakes, lobster mac & cheese, omelets and Dream’s Lamb Chops and Eggs. Breakfast Brothers uses original recipes created by Booker and Biley-Smith to appeal to customers and keep them coming back for more.
“I don’t put anything on the menu without doing everything at home and creating it. Sometimes it takes me a few days or a month to create that addicting taste to individuals’ palettes that will make people come back over and over,” Booker said.
Booker and Biley-Smith have a genuine background in cooking with Biley-Smith’s grandparents spot in South Dallas selling catfish burgers and Booker’s passion and knowledge of cooking he’s developed all of his life.
Many of their inspirations come from watching the women in their family use certain cooking techniques that produced mouth-watering meals. Booker and Biley-Smith used a lot of what they learned from their grandmothers, mothers, aunts, etc. to make their unique seasons and tastes.
“What your mother gave you, what your grandmother gave you, what your mother’s sisters gave you don’t make you less of a man. It makes you in tune to what a woman loves,” Booker said.
When a customer walks into Breakfast Brothers, they can expect an elegant and comfortable atmosphere with a lively hip-hop playlist and selfie-worthy opportunities in various areas of the restaurant, even the restrooms.
Their first building opened in January 2021 in Arlington. Breakfast Brothers also has two locations in Dallas, one on West Camp Wisdom Road and one off of Commerce Street, which is known as their express location where they partnered with CloudKitchens to establish a restaurant lacking dine-in options but allows people to get food at later hours into the night.
Along with their other three current locations and one coming in Houston, Breakfast Brothers also created a TV show called “In The Kitchen With The Breakfast Brothers”, where they get to promote the food at the restaurants and recognize people in the community such as, but not limited to, musicians, city council people, mayors and athletes.
During the 30-minute show that has been on for approximately three years, two guests get the opportunity to pick food off the Breakfast Brothers to eat and then engage in a conversation with the owners about what they have going on and planned in their careers or businesses.
“We’re going to do just like we do at home at the kitchen table, eat and talk,” Booker said. “We have a conversation about your career and what got you started and why you do this.”
The show streams in Oklahoma City and Dallas along with Hulu and YouTube TV, with another streaming opportunity coming in Houston.
According to Booker, people have contacted Breakfast Brothers about franchising and the business is looking to develop the restaurants’ exteriors.
“Our goal is to start having breakfast brothers pop up in major cities and continue to strive and now we’re getting ready to get the new look of the brand, which is the exterior part,” Booker said.
Breakfast Brothers also plans to establish Breakfast Brothers Vegan, a new concept which will offer the same menu items, just made with vegan ingredients, for customers. The idea stemmed from their recent experience at the National Restaurant Association convention, where they learned about the alternative vegan ingredients that can be used.
Breakfast Brothers has not only brought light to the Black culture, but has also allowed Booker and Biley-Smith to participate in something they love to do and have made a business of, with the intent to share those soulful recipes with many more.
“Anything that represents happiness when it comes to our culture, it always has something to do with food,” Booker said. “And that’s where we came up with the slogan: where we feed your soul.”