Growing up, Rhonda Gaulden-Manning was taught to cook by mother, Marguerite Gaulden (Peggy) and grandmother, LillieMae Gaulden- a chef in Taft,Oklahoma for over 30 years. Grandma loved serving families in the neighborhood as well as students and prison inmates. Together the three of them prepared meals for family and friends who after eating would say,
“That Fried Chicken will make you Slap Yo Grandma!
In 1992, Rhonda and her husband, Danny Manning started a home- business called "Off The Wall BBQ" where they delivered to beauty salons, barbershops and private homes. In 1998, the couple leased a catering kitchen in Santa Clara, California while Rhonda attended culinary school.
In 2001, Just four days after receiving her degree in hospitality management, Chef Rhonda and Danny opened the doors of their first brick and mortar, "House of Soul Food" on Lafayette Street in Santa Clara, Ca. This location although small, brought fourth great opportunities and success. House of Soul Food became a go-to for many 49er players such as Fred Beasley(#40) and Tony Parrish(#33) . Chef Rhonda was honored at Terrell Owens' (#81) request for her personally to come cook for he and his guests on Thanksgiving Day.
In 2006, Rhonda took time off from the restaurant to enjoy the arrival of her new born son and accepted the opportunity to work as Executive Chef for a retirement community in Cupertino, Ca.
In 2010, Rhonda and the Gaulden family agreed that it was time to return to their longing customers and opened shop at the former Coleman Still where they reestablished themselves as LillieMae’s House of Soul Food in loving honor of their Grandmother. The cabin like building tied in perfectly with their hospitality and comfort cooking, creating a home-like experience to all who frequented and quickly became a local favorite. Only a year after opening, LillieMae’s was given the title
"BEST FRIED CHICKEN IN THE BAY AREA" by Northside San Francisco News Paper and in 2014 was voted Best Soul Food in America ranking #7 by Tea and Breakfast magazine.
LillieMae's House of Soul Food was selected to be one of three Minority owned businesses chosen to have a food truck inside of Levi Stadium - 49er's Faithful Mile- and also recognized as an “official” by San Francisco 49ers Booster Club who hosted many meet and greets at our establishment. We were excited to be apart of the Superbowl 50, where many Denver broncos and Carolina Panthers players including
quarterback,Cam Newton (#1) who decided to visit and try our well known Fried Chicken!!!
In 2018 the family business moved after experiencing many disappointments due to ADA (handicap) issues to the structure of the building and other unresolved problems. After being there for almost 10 years, it was a heartbreaking experience leaving a building that fit our concept and vision and most importantly, the place that our MANY customers, family and friends called home.
Although we have been let down, we are not out! Our goal is to now purchase a brand new specially designed food truck/trailer! We will continue catering and providing pop-up events throughout the Bay Area!