Lil’ Greenhouse Grill in Overtown serves soul food, gives back to the community

Lil' Greenhouse Grill, a soul food spot in Overtown, started as a food truck. Now, the family-owned restaurant gives back to the community and serves neo-soul cuisine like mac and cheese, barbeque ribs, collard greens and more from Monday-Saturday.

What started as a humble food truck in Historic Overtown has blossomed into a culinary hotspot. Lil’ Greenhouse Grill is celebrating a decade of delicious meals and also continues to serve as a beacon of resilience and community spirit.

From the beginning, Lil’ Greenhouse Grill has been more than just a place to eat. The restaurant actively contributes to the community by providing healthy meals for youth teams at Gibson Park, creating employment opportunities and circulating dollars locally with affordable, high-quality comfort food.

It has become a true community champion, embodying the essence of Overtown.

Chef Kareem Ryan, the mastermind behind Lil’ Greenhouse Grill, shared the restaurant’s commitment to sourcing fresh, local ingredients.

“We serve farm-to-table fresh vegetables, collard greens, all of our salads and actually, we use a farm that’s right here in Overtown for all of our leafy vegetables,” said Nicole Gaines, the restaurant’s managing partner and creative lead. “Our meat is specifically and specially butchered by Chef Kareem Ryan here in the restaurant, and we smoke and grill it right here, too.”

From the family-like hospitality to the cost efficient indulging soulful bites, personal experience at Lil’ Greenhouse Grill did not disappoint. The shrimp and grits, mac and cheese and collard greens were not only delicious, but also a testimony to what has made this spot a local favorite.

Beyond culinary excellence, Lil’ Greenhouse Grill prides themselves in providing a positive environment and job opportunities, especially for young Black men.

“It’s usually young Black men who are running from cops, carjacking, robbing, killing,” one loyal customer said. “But when you come here, when you go in the kitchen and see all these talented chefs, well-trained chefs, they’re doing something very positive. It just gives you hope.”

Supporting Black-owned businesses that face daily struggles is crucial. Ryan urges the community to be a part of the change and contribute to the positive transformation.

Celebrating Black history is not confined to February’s annual celebration of Black History Month. Rather, supporting local Black-owned restaurants like Lil’ Greenhouse Grill is a year-round commitment.

“How you can support is making sure that the good things that happen in neighborhoods like Overtown continue to get shared and the stories keep being told by you,” Gaines said.

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