PEARISBURG, Va. – A local woman’s dreams of opening her own restaurant came true in the New River Valley, and she even ended up making history in the process.
Teasha Watkins is the first Black person to own a restaurant in Giles County. Watkins opened Silver & Salt on Main Street in Pearisburg in May.
“I have been cooking forever,” Watkins said.
Watkins is a Giles County native who said she loves the community she was born and raised in.
She didn’t set out to be a trailblazer when opening her business but said she is honored to hold the title.
She found out she was the first when the health department came to inspect her new business.
“I would be the first Black-owned restaurant ever to be in Giles, which is wild,” Watkins said. “There’s really not been any ever. I was like ‘Dang, I’m 36 and I’m the first. I like that.’”
It’s a big moment for her family and the entire Black community in Giles.
“At the ribbon-cutting, it was so nice when the mayor Robert was here, and I was like dang, we are all here for this purpose,” Watkins said.
Co-owner and manager Will White said it’s an exciting milestone.
“It’s mind-blowing,” White said. “It’s just good for the community to be getting some Black cooking.”
Watkins said the customers have shown up to support one of their own.
“Everyone here is good. Everyone has a good heart. Anytime I have ever needed something, all you have to do is post on Facebook and everyone is willing to help. Like no matter what. That’s just the way it is. It’s like a big family,” Watkins said.
Watkins said she is proud to give back to the community she’s spent her entire life in and hopes to inspire other Black youth to chase their dreams too.
“You can do whatever you want, for real,” Watkins said. “Just do it. Whatever is in your mind, go for it. Because someone is going to support you.”
You can check out Silver & Salt’s Facebook page or website to learn more.