TVLSE, Oklahoma – The Meat Pie Lady Shannon James (Cherokee) completed the Mother Road Market Kitchen 66 launch program on May 9.
Her pop up business Rez-Served is one of 10 food businesses that made it through the program that were chosen out of 300 applicants.
The lack of native representation in the food industry is what James believes caught the attention of the program based on her application.
“I feel like this is our time,” James said. “We took the back seat for a long time.”
As the meat pie lady, she is most known for the meat pies she makes and serves by the bundles.
She claims to have made the Indian taco more convenient where one can walk around and eat it, calling it the “skoden taco” along with other dishes containing traditional foods.
She credits the name of her business to an old friend from school that gifted her the name.
James claims her biggest fan base and customer base has been elders and Muscogee people.
As a Cherokee citizen, she said upon moving to the Okmulgee area in February she felt more welcome than ever.
“I’ve never even thought about moving to Okmulgee,” James said. “Its great, I don’t want to leave.”
She claims the Muscogee people have opened their arms to her and her family.
James said she is booked for a couple months for different events including graduations and elder center events.
She has catered for the Reservation Dogs crew and sees future business ventures happening with them for filming days.
“They loved the meat pies,” James said of the Rez Dogs crew.
The business has now become a family affair for James and her four children, allowing them to spend more time together. She claims this quality time together helps her continue her journey in sobriety and even keeps her older sons from taking the wrong path.
As a young girl, James spent lots of time in the kitchen with her grandma.
“I’m glad I was forced to stay in the kitchen,” James said jokingly.
She grew to love cooking and learning these dishes we call traditional.
Even as a single mother working as a dental assistant, James fed her children everything she cooks today.
“Eating out was expensive,” James said.
She started selling meat pies out of the back of her car for extra money and everyone loved them.
Even after receiving a 48-hour eviction notice from her landlords at her last known cooking location in Okmulgee, James and her children continued to push forward with the program and goals they had set.
Currently, with the assistance of Muscogee Nation, the family is staying in hotel.
This does put a slow down to cooking for James, but she says she can take pre-orders until they are able to find a secure location.
Despite the challenges, James and her children feel as thought the possibilities are endless and the opportunities are abundant.
Her current project is fundraising for a food truck through selling t-shirts with a company called V&M Prints.
The best way to stay updated is through social media accounts Rez-Served on Facebook and Instagram.
James can be reached by phone at 918-901-3183.