Two sisters are giving people a taste of comfort with their brand, Cornbread Sisters. While everyone claims to have or knows someone who makes the best cornbread, the proof for Sheila Tiller-Hooks and Toshia Tiller’s special batter is in at least eight restaurants and select Hyatt Regency hotels in Atlanta. They’ve accomplished what started as a side hustle for extra cash in less than a year since the brand launched.

“It’s surreal thinking about how people are paying to eat our cornbread,” says Toshia. “It’s amazing, and it never gets old to hear and see people giving their honest opinion on it, whether good, bad, or ugly.”

“For me, what feels good is I love being in the kitchen with my sister,” Sheila adds. “I love the atmosphere and culture we’ve created for Cornbread Sisters.”

The recipe for the cornbread comes from Toshia. As the mother of two boys, she found herself craving to create something “they couldn’t find anywhere else” when she became an empty nester.

Cornbread Sisters in Atlanta, Georgia
Photo credit: Cornbread Sisters

“For moms who have sons, we know they get away from you,” Toshia says. “They get their own nuclear families, and then you’re left in the background. I thought about one thing that would keep them coming back to my table, and for us, cornbread is one of them.”  

She perfected her iconic buttermilk cornbread recipe in 2005 for her friends and family. It was a smash hit for those lucky enough to get a taste. Her brother-in-law loved it so much that she taught Sheila how to make it.

“I initially said, ‘Sheila, I’m going to teach you how to make this cornbread, but you have to swear to me that you will never tell anybody how to make this cornbread,’ and she’s always kept her secret,” Toshia says.

From A Family Secret Recipe To Small Business

Sheila says she is a serial entrepreneur. She came up with the idea of starting the business while searching for her next endeavor.

“I was thinking about what I could do that I didn’t have to go back to school for, and I thought about the cornbread because people always raved about it,” says Sheila. “I called my sister to discuss it.”

Toshia agreed on a Monday. By Friday, the two had just secured their first possible restaurant client with a cornbread tasting. The brand’s name came effortlessly and reflected who they are: the two youngest of seven children.

cornbread in a serving dish
Photo credit: Cornbread Sisters

Their first client was Souper Jenny in Atlanta, known for its tasty soups and salads. As more people indulged in the cornbread, the word about the best cornbread in the city was spreading around Atlanta. In just a year since its launch, Cornbread Sisters can be found in at least eight restaurants, including Metro Fresh, Souper Jenny, Spanky’s, and Hyatt Regency in Buckhead.

The sisters aren’t stopping here, especially because they view cornbread as more than a lunch or dinner side.

“We don’t see Cornbread Sisters as a country kitchen,” says Sheila. “We see it as a chic, upscale, and fast food restaurant where people can come in and have business meetings or work inside a café.”

She adds, “We are working on a three-business model where we are our manufacturer, taking care of our customers. We plan to start a nonprofit called, ‘little sisters.’ We also plan to sell our batter and mix in retail stores.”

Cornbread Sisters in Atlanta, Georgia
Photo credit: Cornbread Sisters