TULSA, Okla. — One of the restaurants fighting to stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic has been a downtown staple for years.
Wanda J’s Next Generation, located in the Historic Greenwood District, is still serving soul food classics for curbside pick-up.
The usually warm and inviting dining room is closed to the public, but the Walker sisters have been working hard to keep the legacy of ‘feeling like home’ alive, while they can’t welcome you inside their version of home at the restaurant.
Main operations at the Historic Greenwood District location are overseen by two of the six Walker sisters, Glory Walker-Wells and Tyreha Walker-Lewis.
They come from a long line of cooks.
"It was my grandma that started all of this," Tyreha Walker-Lewis. "Our great grandmother taught her and then she perfected the recipes and opened up Wanda J's."
Since then, it’s been a family run business where the goal has to bring home-cooked soul food to their customers.
“It’s just something my grandmother passed on, she started in the 70s and that was here objective," Glory Walker-Wells said. "So it's something we do too, we try to make sure what we do give out is something that we would want.”
Since the COVID-19 health and safety restrictions, Wanda J's has made 50% less in revenue.
"We have a lot less people coming in because Downtown (Tulsa) is basically shut down, and people coming in before work or during lunch-break were our busy times," Tyreha Walker-Lewis. "It's hard because we can't just cut back, because everyone who works here is a sister, or cousin, or aunt, or dad."
Despite slower business, the Walker sisters are dedicated to their food. The two come in to work before dawn to start slow cooking the vegetables, cutting up fresh cheese for their special mac and cheese, and preparing their rolls.
"Everything is made to order," Tyreha Walker-Lewis said.
"We have been cooking since we were kids and because of that it feels like we have been cooking forever," Glory Walker-Wells said. "It's always been a way our family has showed we care for each other."
The same recipes they use at home are what they use at Wanda J's, and everything is made from scratch, from the hand-breaded fried fish and chicken to peach cobbler.
Wanda J's Next Generation is located at 111 North Greenwood Avenue in Tulsa and it is open for curb-side pick up, Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m..
To see their menu click here. To place an order call 918-861-4142.
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