The Inspiring Journey of Shelley “Butch” Anthony and This Is It! Southern Kitchen & Bar-B-Q

The Inspiring Journey of Shelley “Butch” Anthony and This Is It! Southern Kitchen & Bar-B-Q
Photo Credit: Shelley “Butch” Anthony

Every entrepreneur’s journey is unique, but the story of Shelley “Butch” Anthony, the founder of This Is It! Southern Kitchen & Bar-B-Q, is a testament to resilience, faith, and the power of family. With humble beginnings, challenges, and obstacles, Butch’s journey offers valuable lessons and motivation for aspiring entrepreneurs, foodies, and those looking to breathe new life into their business pursuits.

A Legacy of Entrepreneurship

For Butch, entrepreneurship runs in the family. His parents, Shelley II and Lillian Anthony, opened their first restaurant in Tampa, Florida, in 1951. That’s where Butch learned to cook and discovered the possibilities of being in business for himself.

In 1976, Butch relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, and opened his first southern barbecue restaurant. In 1983, he and his wife, Barbara (Diane), founded This Is It! Seafood. Over the years, the Anthonys built their brand on the four foundational pillars of faith, family, favor, and flavor.

This Is It! Southern Kitchen & Bar-B-Q has been serving the Atlanta, GA metropolitan area since 1983, and today boasts nine locations, one open franchise, and another franchise being built. The restaurants are renowned for exceptional hospitality, delicious food, and health-conscious home-style cooking.

An Underdog’s Triumph

Butch’s story is a powerful example of triumphing against the odds. Despite a limited education, being a teen father, and facing challenges with gambling and marijuana, he persevered. Initially, Butch didn’t want to continue the family business, but his father’s faith in him led him to embrace the legacy. With his father’s last $1,000 and unwavering faith, he built a thriving business.

A Celebration of Success

The Inspiring Journey of Shelley “Butch” Anthony and This Is It! Southern Kitchen & Bar-B-Q
Photo Credit: This Is It! Southern Kitchen & Bar-B-Q

This year, This Is It! Southern Kitchen & Bar-B-Q celebrates its 40th anniversary, a remarkable milestone considering the challenges faced by the restaurant industry during the pandemic. In honor of this achievement, a documentary titled “This Is It! The Miracle of BBQ” will debut on June 11 in Atlanta, followed by a full movie production based on Butch’s life. The documentary will highlight his faith, family, and food. It’s a heartwarming true-to-life telling of one man overcoming adversity to build his future in the name of love and family.

The Importance of Black Entrepreneurship

Butch’s journey demonstrates the power of black entrepreneurship to drive positive change. He believes that through economic empowerment, black entrepreneurs can make a difference in their families, communities, and the world. This Is It! Southern Kitchen & Bar-B-Q exemplifies this idea by serving the community, employees, customers, and partners with love, humility, and kindness, while giving credit to their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Lessons for Entrepreneurs

Butch’s story offers several valuable lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs and those struggling in their businesses:

  1. Embrace your family’s legacy: Building on the strengths of your family’s history can provide a solid foundation for your entrepreneurial journey.
  2. Persevere through challenges: Overcoming obstacles and maintaining faith in your abilities can lead to success.
  3. Prioritize faith and family: A strong support system and unwavering faith can help you navigate the highs and lows of entrepreneurship.
  4. Give back to the community: Use your success as a platform to uplift and empower others.

Shelley “Butch” Anthony’s entrepreneurial journey is an inspiring tale of resilience, determination, and the power of family. Aspiring entrepreneurs and those facing challenges in their businesses can learn from his experiences and apply these valuable lessons to their own paths. Remember that, with faith, hard work, and a supportive community, even the underdog can achieve great success.

Keep up with the latest from This Is It! Southern Kitchen & Bar-B-Q by visiting their website at or following them on social media: Instagram (, Facebook (, and Twitter (


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