Even with being the most famous cook in Harlem, Tillie would treat all of her customers equally. Celebrities who demanded service to their cars waiting out on the block of what became known as Jungle Alley would eventually have to wait on the sidewalk like every other customer. Soon the talented cook and host made enough money to quit the unremarkable gin house she started in and set up a shop next door at 148 West 143rd Street and called it Tillie's Chicken Shack.
This all in turn helped other successful speakeasies to open up on the block which became a destination because of a humble cook who took a 2 week vacation to Harlem and never looked back. Soon other branches of Tillie's would open uptown (at 227 Lenox in 1932) and today eateries such as the Red Rooster or the forthcoming Streetbird Rotisserie have followed the same path as this remarkable woman.
Check out the full 1932 map of famous Harlem jazz spots in our past post: LINK