New vegan eatery Bourne Brilliant—created by a trio of sisters, aged 13, 12, and 9—recently opened in Tallahassee, FL. The eatery offers house-made baked goods, such as cupcakes, cookies, and bread, along with herbal teas, fresh fruit juices, and preserves. On Saturdays, a rotating menu of hot dishes such as vegan barbecue drumsticks, Caribbean vegetable callaloo, mac and cheese, tabbouleh, and curry noodle soup is served. The hot meal options are offered as combos: a choice of one protein with one starch and one vegetable for $10, or two proteins with one starch and one vegetable for $14.

Lyrica (13), Zaira (12), and Nadira (9) Leo launched the food business several years ago, catering and selling their food at local festivals, farmers’ markets, and events. They have been supported by their parents, Syrheda La Shae and Jahlion Leo, as well as Tallahassee chef Shacafrica Simmons, who has been mentoring the sisters for years. While growing the business, La Shae has helped the sisters realize that each of them brings their own set of skills to the table: Lyrica enjoys cooking and is the head chef, Zaira is good with numbers and helps work on finances and inventory, while Nadira helps set up the shop and makes sure the shelves are stocked. 

The Leo family felt confident in their decision to open the eatery despite the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We felt positive about the decision to open at this time,” La Shae told media outlet Tallahassee Democrat. “We traveled in South Carolina and Georgia this summer and looked at small businesses and retail to see what they were doing and what was working for them. We feel good about our safety practices.” The family only allows five customers in the shop at a time, and masks are required.

Photo Credit: Bourne Brilliant/FB