Charisse McGill makes Philly history with French Toast Bites at Cherry Street Pier.
There are a million ways to make history in Philadelphia. Hell, that’s the premise of this city to begin with. We’re built on history. And we stand on the ideal of making history. Temple University grad-turned-French toast magnate Charisse McGill made local history when she became the first Black-owned, female-owned food concessions stand at Spruce Street Harbor Park. Then again, when McGill announced and immediately sold out of her first-ever French Toast Bites Brew through the Doylestown Brewing Company.
McGill partnered with the billion-dollar-Philly-based GoPuff, launching her products there. McGill’s Lokal Artisan Foods is renowned for French Toast Bites, Vegan French Toast Bites, Bacon on-a-stick! and her “Only French Toast Seasoning You’ll Ever Need.” As well as participating in GP’s Food Truck Fridays program. She partnered with BET and DoorDash for a special Black History Month commercial and campaign. And now, she’s got a new 365 day home under the covers of Philadelphia’s favorite waterfront attractions: Cherry Street Pier at 121 N. Columbus Boulevard for its 2021 grand re-opening this week.
McGill is at the historic trolley space near the front of Cherry Street Pier’s entrance, starting now until Fridays and Sundays, noon until 8 pm. On May 7 the times will change at Cherry Street Pier (12:00pm to 9:00pm, Monday through Thursday, 5:00pm to 9:00pm, Friday and Saturday, 12:00pm to 11:00pm), all with limited indoor seating available. This now means McGill has two spots on the water, at two major tourist destinations.
“Securing a seasonal spot last summer at Spruce Street Harbor Park during a global pandemic offered relief in a very uncertain time,” said McGill. “While we are still not out of the Covid 19 woods just yet, Cherry Street Pier is open year-round and that opportunity offers stability. Cherry Street Pier compliments our business model of serving hot, fresh, made-to-order French Toast Bites in high traffic areas. Opening at Cherry Street Pier is unique in the sense that it mixes art installations, live music, a beer, and it is right on the Delaware River waterfront.”
On the topic of managing and maintaining two locations, McGill claims now, as she has since her start, that her Lokal Artisans Food brand is in a growth cycle.
“We’re growing. So we are hiring. Looking to fulfill 6 Team Member positions and 1 Food Marketing intern for the summer.”
Though there are no immediate plans for anything brick and mortar. “We’ve found success with our hybrid and semi-permanent locations and if it ain’t broke…” McGill muses that the goal and the future of her Lokal Artisan Foods brand is to remain rooted in our French Toast flavor profile. “We have taken a fun street food, French Toast Bites and have found ourselves in pantries with our signature French Toast Spice, in mugs with our French Toast Bites Coffee and on draft with our Signature French Toast Bite Ale.” Did we forget to mention her coffee? She’s got that, too.
And while I have spoken to her in the past about her success with partnerships being a key to making it in big in Philadelphia entrepreneurial circles, Charisse McGill adds another secret ingredient to the spice of her pivot journey’s success.
“The secret behind our pivot journey is nestled in our core values. I hate to sound too corporate but one of our six values is flexibility. And 2020 was a time where we were tested and had to demonstrate it.”