Leading up to the homecoming game, vendors set up their food tents and trailers down Wahnish Way near Gaither Gymnasium’s parking lot and behind Bragg Memorial Stadium on Perry Street.
The arrival of the food vendors is among the most anticipated parts of Florida A&M’s homecoming. Students, alumni, guests and community members look forward to indulging in “homecoming food.”
Bev’s Jerk Center, a restaurant owned by Beverly Johnson, has been operating out of Atlanta for 11 years. Johnson’s restaurant brings the island to Tallahassee, serving oxtails, jerk, stew and curry chicken. Bev’s Jerk Center has a unique menu that is appreciated by customers who enjoy island food.
“We enjoy coming to FAMU for this event,” Johnson said. “We are here every year.”
Many people enjoy Johnson’s visit as well.
“I’m so glad that there is a vendor during homecoming that has island food,” said Jasmine Neal, a second-year criminal justice student from Ft. Lauderdale.
Serena King of Serena’s Mobile Foods Inc. has been part of FAMU’s homecoming festivities for the last 12 years.
“We have been in business for 15 years and coming here to homecoming for 12,” King said. “I love the atmosphere, and we make a lot of money.”
King’s restaurant is located in Jacksonville. In 2002, her restaurant won a garlic shrimp cook-off.
In addition to garlic shrimp, Serena’s menu also includes fried chicken tenders and funnel cake.
“Every year, I can’t wait to get funnel cake from Serena’s Mobile,” said Stephanie Daniels, a fourth-year psychology student from Dallas. “A funnel cake is the only food I buy from the vendors that come out during homecoming. They’re my guilty pleasure.”
Elsie’s Place Concession is one of most popular vendors during homecoming because of its polish sausages.
Elsie’s Place has been open for 20 years and has attended FAMU’s homecoming for 15. Elsie’s Place travels to different HBCUs and sells food at different festivals. Customers line up to get their hands on one of its sausages with all the fixings.
Jason Smith, a third- year English student from Tampa, said Elsie’s sausages are some of the best he has ever had.
“I like to dress mine up with mustard, peppers and a ton of onions,” Smith said.
Mister BAR-B-QUE sells barbecue chicken, fried wings, seafood and its famous lemonade and punch in big plastic cartons with lids. Its permanent location is in Cocoa, and it has been open since 1988.
Owner Cleatrice Price is friendly and accommodating, which keeps customers coming back.
“I love Mister’s,” said Janet Williams, a recent FAMU alumna. “Every year, I come here, and if I’m not really hungry, I’ll get one of those jumbo lemonades. The owner is so nice and she personally takes your orders.”
Danielle Stewart, a fourth-year engineering student from Jacksonville, likes the way Mister’s seasons its wings, although eating them can get messy.
“The wings at Mister’s are always seasoned perfectly,” Stewart said. “And they always make sure you have enough napkins.”
Price said that coming to FAMU’s homecoming is no longer about making a profit.
“I enjoy the togetherness and family atmosphere of this university,” Price said. “I love seeing new people and the genuine appreciation they have.