Tramesha Cruse is the co-owner and operator at Lila Mae’s Southern Kitchen & Lounge.

Tell us a little about your business. – Lila Mae’s is a southern-style restaurant that specializes in southern comforts. We offer a fun energetic environment that is both welcoming and warm.

How did you get started in the business? – I have been in the food service business for over 20 years. I have done everything from hosting, serving, bartending, prepping, managing, and catering. It just seemed like the next step was opening my own venue.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally? – The biggest challenge that I have faced is finding enough time. There are so many things that need to be taken care of and it seems like there is not enough time in the week to take care of it all.

What has been your most important achievement professionally? – The most important achievement professionally for us would be the response that we have received from our guests and our patrons. We appreciate the support.

Tell us a little about your family. – We decided on the name Lila Mae’s after my great-grandmother. Her life reads like a novel, and I am grateful that she was the matriarch of our family. She worked in kitchens most of her life. My granny taught my mother how to cook, who then taught me and my brothers how to. My family members have owned food trucks, restaurants, and done catering for as long as I can remember.

What is your favorite thing to do on a day off? – Since we are still in the beginning stages of being business owners, we do not get a lot of time off. Once we are at a point where we can go back to traveling, we will.

Who inspires you? – My daughter. She is beautiful, outspoken, and smart. She drives me to work harder and be better.

What is your favorite quote or the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – My favorite quote and the best advice I have ever received was “Let go and Let God.” I have lived by that saying since I was 14. It hasn’t let me down yet.

If you could choose only one descriptive word to be remembered as, what would it be? – Unpredictable.

What is your greatest talent that you don’t utilize in your daily work life? – I am a decent writer and poet.

If you could choose any other profession to be successful in, what would it be? – Growing up, I always wanted to be a writer. I have two poems published.

What is your favorite book or the last good book you read? – My favorite book is The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. The last good book I read was Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. I have read both numerous times.

What is your favorite movie?The Color Purple.

What is your favorite TV show? – I really don’t watch a lot of TV. When I do have the opportunity to, it’s usually something foreign.

What is your favorite local restaurant? – I have way too many favorites to name just one.

If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so? – They can always message me on our Lila Mae’s Southern Kitchen & Lounge Facebook page or email me at