Served from the heart: This family restaurant has plenty of soul

Betty Wrenn Day - Posted on Feb 26, 2014 - 02:59 PM

Photo: Dianne Tillage, owner of D&J’s Back 2 Back Soul Food Restaurant, is ready to serve her famous hot hoe bread. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day

Dianne Tillage, owner of D&J’s Back 2 Back Soul Food Restaurant, is ready to serve her famous hot hoe bread. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day

 

“I want people to know this is a family restaurant,” said Dianne Tillage. She welcomes your whole family with open arms at her new business, D&J Back 2 Back Soul Food Restaurant at North, named for her son Devonte and grandson Jekhi.

“I love to cook. It’s something I’ve been doing ever since I was a child. I’ve always loved being around older people when growing up. When everyone else was outside playing, I was usually in the kitchen watching my grandmother, mother and cousin cook.”

Today Dianne is not doing the watching. She’s doing the cooking, not only at her restaurant but also “every Saturday and Sunday all my family are at my house to eat and I love it.”

A native of Mathews from the Beaverlett area, Dianne began her cooking career at the Mathews Convalescent Center, “where I became assistant cook and assistant dietician. It was there I learned how to do presentation and handling special diet needs.” Her next move was to Toano, where she managed a restaurant for two and half years.

Wanting to add something new to her life, Dianne obtained a real estate license and it was through this new career the idea to pursue what many friends had always told her, “you should open a restaurant,” came about. “I was showing this building to some other people who decided it was not for them, but as I looked around, I said to myself, ‘I can handle this.’”