Entrepreneur credits success to Jackson Ward family's legacy: 'Love, good food, good vibes'

Sherita McGowan: 'They started with the Eggleston Hotel back in the 1930s to the 1950s on Second and Leigh'
Croaker's Spot
Posted at 3:18 PM, Mar 10, 2024

RICHMOND, Va. -- Sherita McGowan's journey from a part-time host to the owner of Croaker's Spot restaurants in Richmond and Petersburg is "definitely a lot to be proud of.”

The entrepreneur attributes much of her success to the legacy of the Eggleston family in Richmond's historic Jackson Ward.

"They started with the Eggleston Hotel back in the 1930s to the 1950s on Second and Leigh," McGowan said. "And from there that was the grandfather of the original owner of Croaker Spot, and between the grandfather, his son and the third generation Eggleston, they've had multiple businesses within the City of Richmond."

Black Restaurant Week 2024
Antoinette Essa and Crocker's Spot Owner Sherita McGowan

McGowan is keeping the history of the Egglestons alive.

"The things that they brought about to the city were love, good food, good music, good vibes," McGowan said. "And it's a place where you can go and feel comfortable and enjoy yourself. So I think that what they started and what we've continued is what keeps people coming."

Black Restaurant Week 2024

Crocker's Spot has participated in Richmond Black Restaurant Experience, which was created by Shemicia Bowen, Kelli Lemon and Amy Wentz, since the event's start in 2017.

"It gave us an avenue that we could showcase that we also have restaurants and businesses that are Black-owned that are just as prominent and successful," McGowan explained. "And it also brought about new business that we didn't have before."

Black Restaurant Week 2024

Fresh off hosting a Heart and Soul Winterfest in Massanutten, the team is ready for the week-long event happening March 10 through the 17, according to Jess Synder, the event's coordinator.

"Our goal is to get exposure to these restaurants, to these caterers, to the food, to the Black businesses that really helped run the city that thrive that keep that energy," Synder said.

Black Restaurant Week 2024
Richmond Black Restaurant Week Event Coordinator Jess Snyder

The week promises to be a celebration of food, music, art, and community, with Mobile Soul Sunday serving as a highlight to honor Black-owned food trucks and caterers.

"On Friday, March 15 we also have an event called Art for the Soul and we team up with Studio Two Three, and this is where we celebrate the arts," Synder said.

Black Restaurant Week 2024

The economic impact of the event has raised millions of dollars and supported area nonprofits.

Additionally, look for an expanded edition of Mobile Soul Sunday in Old Towne Petersburg on April 14.

This week would not be possible without, not only our team, but our sponsors and volunteers," Synder said. "Shout-out to Dominion, Primis, Richmond Region Tourism, and BLK RVA, Break Through Beverages, all the help those the things that make this week go."

Richmond Black Restaurant Experience

More than 35 restaurants will participate in RBRE, serving meals like the seafood sampler found at Croaker's spot.

While McGowan's dream of creating a 24-hour day care has taken a different path, it is one she would not change.

"I tell them now, I have a 24-hour adult day care," McGowan said. "Yes, you may work for me, but you're my family. And they feel the love. Our biggest ingredient in here in the food and amongst the staff is love."

Black Restaurant Week 2024

The 8th annual Richmond Black Restaurant Experience kicked off with Mobile Soul Sunday in Monroe Park.

Click here to learn more about Richmond Black Restaurant Experience. You can also click here for a list of restaurants taking part

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