After nearly two decades of serving soul food on West Bellfort Avenue, Jeanette, her son Craig Joseph and his family wanted to provide the same homestyle meals to southeast Houston residents. Pearland residents were making the 20-mile drive to the Stafford-area location for some of her cooking before Craig and his wife, Tasha Joseph, opened a location at 9603 Broadway St. in June 2019, Craig said.
While Jeanette died just five months before the Pearland location opened its doors, both restaurants continue offering the same meals she enjoyed cooking and serving. The menu’s roots are in the food Jeanette Williams served at cookouts for her coworkers before she opened a restaurant, when she worked for the United States Postal Service.
“She sacrificed it all [for us] to be where we are today,” Craig said of his mother, whose grave he visits often since it is close to the Pearland location. “I’m reminded of her every day.”
Praise of Jeanette’s food spread by word of mouth over the years, including through local on-air personalities, Craig said; Jeanette used to drop free catering off to area radio hosts and their guests. This has resulted in celebrities stopping by for a meal and photos with Mikki’s staff, as documented by the shots hanging from the restaurant’s walls.
Craig’s sister Jeanelle Williams runs the West Bellfort Avenue location, which celebrated 20 years in business in December. Diners at either eatery will be greeted by friendly, attentive staff and find an environment that appeals to everyone, Black or otherwise, since Jeanette valued sharing the flavors of her dishes with people of all walks of life, Craig said.
“Soul food can be urban; it can be for younger people,” Craig said, adding the Pearland location offers a small-business feel that is unique to the area. “The fact that everything is home cooked—you just can’t really find that out in this area.”
Mikki’s in Pearland has a drive-thru window, which Craig said has been hugely popular amid the coronavirus pandemic. The menu has grown from its original 10 dishes and five entrees; different specials are now offered every weekday, and the weekends-only fried chicken and catfish are consistent hits, he said.
Mikki’s hopes to offer breakfast options at its locations by summertime, he added.
Jeanette shared her love of cooking with others in a way that established generational wealth for her children, Craig said, and he looks forward to building on that wealth and passing it to his family.