Angelish Wilson

Wilson’s Soul Food has been a fixture at Athens’ Hot Corner since it opened in 1981. Angelish Wilson co-owns the traditional Southern lunch spot with her brother, Homer, but handles the restaurant’s day-to-day operations herself, which makes her one of downtown’s more visible characters.

On running a restaurant:

I love to cook, and I love to see people eat. And also, when I put love into what I’m doing, then you have people come in, and they’ll be down-and-out, and before they leave here, they have love within them… Eating food, like home-cooked food or “homebody food,” puts that nourishment back into you, and puts that jump back into you! So, it’s all out of love.

On her role in the community:

I can sum it up by saying that young girls need women that they can look up to. So, I try to be that beacon… I tend to steer them in the right direction if I get a chance to talk to them, or to be that role model in the community. Because I am a single mom, and my aim is to let people know—young girls know—that even though they’re single, and they have kids, they, too, can raise successful kids.

On fame:

Last year in April, the O Magazine called, wanting to interview me, so I was in Oprah’s magazine in the July issue, and also, in May, Gardens and Guns called… They came down to interview me and I was selected [to be pictured] on the front cover of the July issue with my cherry pie.

On family:

My brother, Homer Wilson, he and I work together good, you know, we get along. And also, my mom, Elizabeth Wilson, she’s a guide in our life… Our daddy shaped and molded us to be independent… whatever you wanted in life, you had to go out and get it. You had to do it honestly… To see him raise 15 kids—and I have two, so I know I can do two!