NBA Star Paul Millsap to Grow Southern Restaurant Franchise

This is it! Southern Kitchen and BBQ, an Atlanta-based Southern home-style restaurant brand, announced the launch of its franchising program and the signing of professional NBA player Paul Millsap as its first area developer for Greater Atlanta. The newly revamped Southern food brand has also appointed Tamala Fowler as its CEO and partnered with renowned BBQ restaurateur and Food Network star Pat Neely to assist in recipe development and new menu offerings.

This Is It! was founded more than 35 years ago by the Anthony family, which has a rich, 80-year history in the restaurant business. Heralded as local pioneers of Southern home-style cuisine, the Anthony family created a wide-ranging menu of Southern fried chicken, BBQ ribs and brisket, seafood dishes such as grilled salmon and fried tilapia, and extensive options of homemade Southern sides including mac n’ cheese, collard greens, and sweet potatoes. With 11 locations throughout Greater Atlanta, This Is It! restaurants are recognized for their exceptional hospitality while serving the best Southern home-style dishes.

During his time in Atlanta playing for the Atlanta Hawks, Millsap became a frequent visitor to This Is It! restaurants and was drawn to the brand’s emphasis on family and its mix of homemade BBQ, seafood, and soul food. As the brand’s first area developer for Greater Atlanta, Paul plans to open at least three new locations in the area, with the first of these restaurants to open by mid-2020.

“While I was living in Atlanta, I fell in love with This Is It! restaurants for their delicious food and strong focus on family and Southern hospitality,” says Millsap. “As a longtime fan of the brand, I jumped at the opportunity to expand this concept throughout Georgia and am excited for This Is It! to become a large part of my future in the restaurant industry.”

With the brand’s franchising launch, This Is It! Southern Kitchen and BBQ has named franchise veteran Tamala Fowler as its new CEO. Fowler was previously the President of GiGi’s Cupcakes, where she oversaw aggressive store growth, and served as the Senior Vice President of Supply Chain and International Development for Dickey’s Barbeque Pit, in which she spearheaded the brand’s entrance into retail locations such as Walmart and Kroger.

“The Anthony family created such a beloved, strong brand with a loyal customer base throughout Atlanta thanks to their fresh, great tasting Southern food and genuine hospitality,” adds Fowler. “We look forward to continuing that tradition of family, hospitality, and high-quality Southern dishes with our franchise partners as we grow this brand in communities throughout the Southeast.”

To assist with the brand’s revamp and launch into franchising, This Is It! has partnered with Food Network celebrity chef and BBQ connoisseur Pat Neely. A restauranteur for over 25 years, Neely owned and operated the award-winning Neely’s BBQ chain in Tennessee, with five locations across Memphis and Nashville, and Neely’s Barbecue Parlor in New York City. Neely also starred in his own show on the Food Network called “Down Home with the Neelys” for 13 successful seasons. In this partnership, Neely will be using his expertise in regional BBQ trends and dining habits to help efficiently scale the brand, promote nationally and replicate the success of the original restaurants in Atlanta, while training franchisees on store operations and recipe execution.

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by WTWH Media LLC.