A dream straight from the soul, Hilda’s Kitchen is more than what Reverend Avis Williams could’ve ever imagined.
“[Hilda’s Kitchen had been a dream of mine for years, probably 10 or 15 years,” said Williams. “I was working still and had no restaurant experience, but I started planning for it, just writing recipes down in a spiral notebook, and the Lord allowed it to come into fruition last year.”
Hilda’s Kitchen debuted in the Pittsburgh area in July 2020 and has taken root in the hearts of soul food lovers all across Munhall and beyond.
Williams’ passion project has been nothing short of a journey she says.
“It’s been worthwhile work,” said Williams. “I came into it with no food industry experience at all and went and got restaurant work which gave me a good start.”
Her good start has quickly transformed into a solid and smooth journey that results in tons of happy customers looking to experience the warm cooking of the Deep South.
“The reception has been great. Many customers have come in and said this is the kind of place that we need in this area,” said Williams. “We do have other soul food restaurants in Pittsburgh so I won’t say that I’m the only one here, but I’ve gotten a lot of comments from customers that they’re pleased with the food, they’re pleased with the location, and they feel that they can be comfortable and enjoy their experience.”
Described as an establishment that’s “bringing the South to Pittsburgh”, Hilda’s Kitchen offers an array of Southern-style dishes from America’s lower regions like New Orleans and Alabama.
“When I was preparing years ago, one of my main goals was to give people the most popular dishes in the South as food is concerned,” said Williams. “I want to represent all of the South so that people can get something like gumbo, boiled peanuts, oxtails or candied yams; things that they’re familiar with.”
Being open for a year has only inspired Williams to think bigger than she ever has.
“I definitely see us expanding to other areas of Pittsburgh and other cities. I also see us being able to hire people because right now we don’t have any employees, but I see us being able to provide employment especially to people who have been incarcerated and find it hard to find a job,” said Williams. “I just want to be able to share Hilda’s Kitchen with others as the Lord sees fit.”