The food and restaurant business is in Ginger Williams’ blood. Williams is the owner of Ginger’s Cafe Korean-American Mix Up food truck.
“My mother, Kay Williams, owned and operated two restaurants while I was growing up,” Williams said. “Bong Hwang on Henderson Blvd. in Tampa and Yi Dynasty on Lumsden in LaViva Plaza in Brandon. One of my uncles owns Shilla Korean Restaurant in Sarasota. So, the food and the cooking are just in the blood, I guess.”
Williams’ career didn’t start in the restaurant business; it started in the automotive business.
“Before I started this journey, I spent the last 16 years of my life in the car business on the service side,” Williams said. “I spent a lot of time one-on-one with customers and that was honestly my favorite part of the job. I talked about starting a food truck for about the last 10 years and finally decided it was time.”
Ginger’s Cafe Korean-American Mix Up is a cafe on wheels, serving a fusion of traditional Korean and American fare.
“Growing up in a household in which we ate both Korean and American food and sometimes fusing the two made for some delicious eats,” Williams said.
Williams left her job in the automotive business in April 2019.
“I found my truck in June and the building began,” she said. “I worked every day getting my truck ready to start my business. I even painted it myself. It was a lot of work. My savings, blood, sweat and tears were all spent during my nine-month project. I was finally ready to open, so excited to start and then hit the pandemic. So, I opened in March 2020 and the struggle began.”
The cafe started as a mobile service, one night a week at the Korean American Journal and two days a week at the Brandon Oriental Market.
“We did apartment complex dinner services, residential HOAs and anywhere else that we could get in,” Williams said. “I finally found my permanent location this past August. We had to wait until November to move in and get started. It’s been slow growing, but our customers all come back, so that’s the dream I chase, keeping the people and growing the relationships.”
Williams couldn’t have made it this far without the help of her family.
“I have made it this far only because of the help of my family,” Williams said “My mother, Kay, works with me everyday for lunch. My sister Suzie, sister-in-law Zaadia and aunt Sung Ae also work on nights and weekends. Without them, I don’t think I’d survive. The love and support of my family are everything to me.”
To learn more about Ginger’s Cafe Korean-American Mix Up, you can visit www.facebook.com/GingersMixUpCafe or call Williams at 325-9633.