FAMU grad ‘traps chicken’ seven days a week

Tyus Williams in front of his restaurant. Photo by Cassandra Jean.

Born on the west side of Chicago, 27-year-old Tyus Williams is a force to be reckoned with.

Williams, the owner of Chicago Chicken & Grill on West Pensacola Street, is a FAMU grad with designs on creating a mini-chain of eateries in Tallahassee.

He got his start in the restaurant business at the Chicago Chicken & Grill on the parkway, which was owned by his cousin, Rashad Bailey. Williams was a student at the time. 

When he graduated, Bailey turned the restaurant over to Williams. He has since closed it, along with another Chicago Chicken & Grill on Adams Street.

“Being two men from the rough side of Chicago, we wanted to bring Chicago flavor to the streets of Florida,” Williams said.

After leaving the military Williams realized one of his strong suits was leading and putting a smile on others’ faces. 

Williams decided to close the restaurant on Adams Street in November 2017 when he and the owners of the property reached an impasse. He thought that would be the end of Chicago Chicken & Grill.

When asked to describe his experience working for Williams, Kareem Ross, 22, a pre-law major from Jacksonville, said: “Working at Chicago’s the way that people flock to Tyus and stay loyal to him shows you the type of person he is.”

When talking about entrepreneurship in the younger generation, Williams said, “What you put in is what you get out.”

Williams opened the Pensacola Street location in August. Williams knows his loyal customers and who will be coming at what time.

Brittany White, a loyal customer since the first restaurant, said, “I love that it’s local and black-owned. Not only is the food good, but also the customer service is even better. I’ve been coming here since the restaurant on Apalachee. You have so many options and can have your heart’s desire. 

“The fact that he accommodates every allergy I have without attitude. Everyone doesn’t do that with a smile. Just a minute ago I asked about a specific sauce and instead of guessing what it was made from he went and grabbed the jar to show me. I come at least two-to-three times a week,” she added.

Williams wants to go back to school to get his master’s and then attend law school. He said he wants to be a divorce attorney. Until then Williams continues to do what he does best: “trap chicken,” as he puts it.