“Where we feed your soul”
Just last month, Breakfast Brothers made their debut in the SDM Thanksgiving issue, kickstarting our “New Black Owned Restaurants in Southern Dallas” list. We’re so excited to feature Rickey Booker Sr. and Jonathan Biley-Smith, co-owners of Breakfast Brothers now on the cover of SDM, paralleling their rapid growth and popularity throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The story of Breakfast Brothers is nothing short of amazing. Rick and Jonathan are testaments to the beauty that can be found by trusting in God’s plan, bringing a vision to fruition through hard work, dedication, and readily adapting the Breakfast Brothers’ team to new challenges and opportunities. If you’ve been looking for a local star-story, look no further. Their journey from the Little Black Shack to now two dine-in locations in South Dallas is sure to inspire you.
So, let’s take it back to the very beginning…which surprisingly isn’t too long ago. Just in 2017, the very first version of Breakfast Brothers was birthed, previously known as “The Little Black Shack.” This was an enclosed pulley trailer that had been converted to cook some of the most delicious late night plates behind popular entertainment clubs in the DFW area.
While the Little Black Shack was barely holding on by a thread with only a single light, leaky roof in Texas’ challenging weather conditions, and only two fryers, the demand for its food kept growing. You see, although the Little Black Shack was a relatively new venture in 2017, this hadn’t been Rick’s first shot at entrepreneurship.
Rick had led successful ventures in music and entertainment with CKB Music Entertainment, creating some of the most memorable vibes from Texas to Louisiana. Both Rick and Jonathan are also vets in the automotive industry, having made customs for auto-lovers all over the United States, including reconstructing and customizing a vehicle for Bishop T.D. Jakes. All in all, the pair’s drive, self-taught entrepreneurial skills, and prioritizing relationship building created the perfect storm for the Little Black Shack to exceed everyone’s expectations.
The demand for Rick’s one of a kind plates never ceased, even through late night hours, lining up just about 700 party-goers from all over DFW every Friday and Saturday night. While the Little Black Shack was busy meeting their growing demand, word about their hustle also got around rather quickly, gaining the attention of the city. Not only did the shack have to change locations, but they also were threatened because the trailer didn’t meet city compliance.
Other men might have been discouraged, but Rick and Jonathan did not want to disappoint Dallas locals nor give up on their dream, even if it was just in its beginning stages. With their brotherly nature, they networked their way into leasing the kitchen and employing a full kitchen staff right in DG’s nightclub to keep the ball rolling, expanding to other entertainment clubs like the Rick’s Cabaret chain throughout DFW, Fort Worth, Lubbock, San Antonio, and Austin.
Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs, once said, ““I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” And just like one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time advised, they lead their team through even more unprecedented challenges when the pandemic struck the world in 2020. Rather than throwing in the towel, they readily adjusted once again to the mandatory curfew and strict Nation-wide health regulations that separated him from his growing customer base. These circumstances could have brought the business to a screeching halt, but Rick and co-owner Johnathan saw an opportunity to uplevel the business model by investing in their first food truck, branding into the Breakfast Brothers, and hitting the local DFW streets.
“When God is involved, nothing can stop you,” said Rick during one of his early interviews explaining his journey. Once the Little Black Shack proved to be successful in its own right, the Breakfast Brothers had a duty to continue delivering (literally) to the people of Texas.
This is where the vision started to become a tangible reality, birthing the entire Breakfast Brother’s brand and their slogan, “Where we feed your soul.” The new investment into a professional food truck was fully equipped with everything the team needed to deliver at high volumes and loaded with Rick’s one-of-one recipes made straight from his heart.
The brand continued to grow as more people were able to put a name to the taste that they were experiencing. Rick’s mash-up between soul food and homestyle breakfast became well-known due to his hospitality and ability to create a homey atmosphere no matter where he parked the truck. Not to mention his unique all-purpose seasoning blend inspired by the women in his family, pulling from recipes that his aunt, grandmother, and mother shared with him throughout his life.
As Breakfast Brothers traveled and delivered the Breakfast Brothers experience, the owners were able to invest in getting their own manufactured house seasoning, merchandise, and begin to bring their vision down to reality with a tangible plan. And while the food truck provided many opportunities (and still does for catering and local DFW events), Breakfast Brothers was ready to create a welcoming dine-in experience that truly showcased just how far their team has come.
As mentioned above, the two business moguls had never been shy of speaking things into existence through prayer and putting in the networking hours. Through local connections, they were able to negotiate the brand’s foot in the door with commercial real estate right in the home of Arlington, Texas, grounding the Breakfast Brothers vision permanently. This was the first opportunity that the Breakfast Brothers had to bring all the pieces together for people to experience. Located at 130 E Bardin Rd Ste 128, Arlington, TX 76018, locals are able to enjoy either a dine-in experience or takeout with an atmosphere inspired by the music and aesthetics of the culture to match.
When you walk into the restaurant, you’ll be graced with classic oldies that everyone in the family will love to sing along to. Customers might not even notice all of the black tin that lines some of the walls, but those are even remnants of the Little Black Shack from the very beginning. The walls are covered with cultural leaders that have inspired the Breakfast Brothers team throughout their journey. Even down to the booths in the restaurant, Rick and Jonathan were sure to include vintage custom car seats.
When you walk into either the first Arlington location or the newest Red Bird location (3704 W. Camp Wisdom Rd Ste 110, Dallas, TX 75237), you’re sure to get a peek into who the two men really are and what the Breakfast Brothers truly stand for. Since opening up the Red Bird location, the Breakfast Brothers have experienced rapid growth, catapulting them into being able to plan the future of the brand.
They have been able to expand their efforts so quickly that they’re planning to launch Breakfast Brothers Express (cloud kitchen) as a to-go only hub to conveniently expand their reach. Their first Express location will be open in February at 921 E. Commerce Street, Dallas, TX 75237.
Rick has had several accounts of customers inquiring about franchise opportunities. To clear the air, they plan to ground 20+ locations in 2 years and eventually open up franchise opportunities. They’re prioritizing creating a long-lasting foundation that will be around for generations.
If you want to try Breakfast Brothers for yourself, don’t hesitate to visit one of their two locations or connect with them on social media! They love showcasing local events that they participate in, highlight other DFW culinary artists on their TV show, In the Kitchen with Breakfast Brothers, and always give back to the community that gives so much to them. You can tune into their TV show that airs on CW33 in Dallas, TX, on Freedom43 in Oklahoma, or even stream the show live on Hulu every Saturday at 10:30 am.
YT: In The Kitchen With The Breakfast Brothers
Writer: Maxine Parks, email@example.com