The West Bank Home to The New We Dat’s

January 21, 2019 marked the first day opened for the new We Dat’s on the West Bank. The new Marrero location is one of three We Dat’s New Orleans Chicken and Shrimp, one is located on Canal St., and another at Old Gentilly Rd. A New Orleans’ favorite, locals are glad to see the restaurant expand.

Gregoire Tillery started the popular food chain from the ground up. This local, who was raised in the 7th ward, knows the benefits of hard work. Coming from a single parent household his mom worked two jobs to keep food on the table. After college, Tillery began his career with a national food brand but soon had a “spiritual awakening.” The national food brand company he was working for started to lay off many employees. After prayer and reflection, Tillery decided to venture out on his own in the food industry.

“It really affected me,” he said. “It didn’t affect me financially because they didn’t lay me off, but it affected me mentally and spiritually.”

While watching “The Great Food Truck Race“, Tillery got the idea to open up a food truck. With prayer and ambition he opened a food truck on Tulane Avenue in 2013 and now his food truck is followed by 225,000 people on Instagram.

“I can’t depend on someone else to keep a roof over my head and keep food on my table, so that’s when the whole food truck thing came about,” Tillery said.

We Dat’s popularity opened up two more restaurants and if that isn’t enough, the restaurant on Canal Street was featured in a Netflix documentary.

“I just about went crazy,” he said of seeing his Canal Street shop on Netflix. “I said, ‘This can’t be real life.’”

When entering one of his restaurants, you sense the pride of his native New Orleans’ roots. Each restaurant is painted bright purple (Edna Karr High School colors) and murals are painted by a local artist depicting scenes from the New Orleans Community. Local favorites are served like shrimp, chicken, catfish and loaded fries. Local desserts made by his mom Lori Shepard are served at each location as well as a local beverage called Element Beverage.

“Greg was one of the first people to feature the product in his restaurant,” said Cleveland Spears III of the Spears Group in New Orleans. “Other beverage companies asked him not to carry it, but he said no, I’m supporting these young African American boys who started this business in high school.

As for the new West Bank location, it is already a local favorite. The counter-service restaurants has four TV’s and the murals in this restaurant focus on historically black colleges and universities.

“I have a lot of college logos on the wall, which is going to be a focus for me going forward,” he said. “We have so many of the youth that come into the restaurants and I want them to keep college in mind and keep education in mind.”

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