For the love of Lucille: Meet the Houston chef inspired by his great-grandmother’s passion for cooking and community

Well refined, Southern cuisine, defined by history.

That’s the message on the website for Lucille’s of Houston. While concise, it represents a family legacy that dates back more than a century and that’s rooted in delicious food and a devotion to service.

Chris and his brother Ben Williams co-founded Lucille’s in 2012 as a tribute to their great-grandmother Lucille B. Smith. She was an educator and culinary innovator who would become an entrepreneur when she founded a food corporation.

Lucille B. Smith, the namesake of Houston's acclaimed Lucille's restaurant (Courtesy Lucille's 1913)

Now, Lucille’s is nationally acclaimed, and Chris Williams is a James Beard Award finalist.

In this episode of “Eat Like a Local with Chris Shepherd”, Shepherd sits down with Williams to hear the stories of Lucille’s, his nonprofit organization Lucille’s 1913, Eldorado Ballroom and Rado Market which sit next to Houston’s Emancipation Park, and Williams’ most recent endeavor Late August.

Watch this episode in the video player above

“Eat Like a Local with Chris Shepherd” is your guide to the best food in Houston. Watch new episodes Saturdays at 10 a.m. on KPRC 2.


5512 La Branch | Houston

Chris Williams made a name for himself in the culinary world for his creations which fuse international flavors with traditional Southern food.

He trained in kitchens from London to Lithuania before returning home to Houston, where he would create a brand that honored his great-grandmother while making an impact that will benefit future generations.

Since Williams and his brother started Lucille’s, it has grown to Lucille’s Hospitality Group and includes the non-profit organization Lucille’s 1913 -- which has served hundreds of thousands of meals to those in need and is working to combat food insecurity and waste.

The charity arm of Lucille’s got its name from the year Williams’ great-grandmother started her catering business -- 1913.

Three decades later, in the 1940s, Lucille Smith invented Lucille’s All Purpose Hot Roll Mix for a church fundraiser. They were a hit and became the first hot roll mix marketed in the U.S.

You can get those hot rolls at Lucille’s today, along with many other delicious dishes.

Chris Shepherd shares his picks for what to order at Lucille's (KPRC2/

Rado Cafe & Market

2310 Elgin St. | Houston

Rado Cafe & Market sits across from Houston’s Emancipation Park and is named for its location beneath the historic and famed Eldorado Ballroom.

This dining spot, which offers sandwiches with farm fresh ingredients, is also a spot to shop for locally-sourced products.

Visit their website to see the local brands carried or stop in a grab food and a bottle of wine for a perfect picnic in the park.

Chris Shepherd shares his picks for what to order at Rado Market (KPRC2/

Bookmark the Eat Like a Local website, so you can find more restaurants serving up great food near you. We’re adding restaurants to the map every week.

Watch new episodes of “Eat Like a Local with Chris Shepherd” Saturdays at 10 a.m. on KPRC 2.

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About the Authors

Sports mom, amateur nature photographer, and regional Emmy award-winning television producer

Field producer by day. Cruise director by night to a busy, foodie, outdoorsy family, which includes two sports loving boys and one craft beer loving husband.

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