Josiah’s Southern Cooking

Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 9:25 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -

There is a lot of laughter and mouth-watering food at Josiah’s Southern Cooking restaurant.

“I love to cook and I’ve always had to feed multiple people. My mom died early and I kind of raised my siblings and I had three children,” said Sharolyn Gaines owner and manager of Josiah’s Southern Cooking.

Gaines had always dreamed of opening a cafe and that dream finally became a reality 7 years ago.

Gaines cousin pointed out a little corner of the Steel Brothers Bail Bonds building telling her it would be a great place for her to open a restaurant.

“It used to be a bad area,” said Gaines. “So I said no it won’t. Not while they’re out there. So I prayed about it and God cleaned it up in a week’s time and it’s not been back out there since. When God does something he does it. So I dedicated my business to the Lord. I say this is not my business I just work here.”

Gaines admits it hasn’t been an easy road.

“I literally started with nothing,” said Gaines. $300 just to start with food. Everybody kept saying I wasn’t going to make it.

Throw in a category 5 hurricane, a stroke, and a pandemic, and the odds seemed to be stacked against her.

“But you know I wasn’t worried because I dedicated all of it to God,” said Gaines. " I may not be big but I’m here and I’m growing.”

Gaines says she made one big promise she will always keep.

“I told the Lord if you give me my own business I won’t work on Sundays. Everybody always telling me you know how much money you could make on Sundays? And I tell them nothing because I made a covenant with the Lord and I am still here,” said Gaines.

And she’s still serving up southern-style favorites.

Including what they call a community favorite Oxtails, along with southern smothered pork chops, grouper throats, grouper backs, meatloaf, turkey wings and so much more.

“The meats change daily,” said Gaines. “The vegetables stay pretty much the same. Except on Fridays I will do fried okra to go with the fish day.

Many patrons say the atmosphere is just as appealing as the food.

“I love people. I love dealing with people so I love to cook it but I don’t care about eating it,” said Gaines. “So if I can get somebody to eat it I’ll cook it.”

At Josiah’s She has a lot of somebody’s to eat it.

“This place is heaven on earth,” said one patron. “My favorite is fried pork chops,” said Will Cramer.

“I play the whole menu,” said Brian Taylor. “The oxtail is fantastic, the grouper, meatloaf.”

The portions are so big you’ll more than likely need a to-go box.

“This is what I strive for,” said Gaines. “This is my family, all the people that come here.”

Speaking of family. The namesake of the restaurant is Gaines’s grandson.

“He was 5 when I started he says I work for him,” said Gaines.

She chose to name the restaurant after Josiah for a specific reason.

“Josiah in the Bible reigned at the age of 8 as a king,” said Gaines. “So I said Lord I would love for my business to be blessed before 8 years and he did. I can’t complain.”

And neither does anyone else.

Josiah’s Southern Cooking can be a little tricky to find. The address is 1003 Martin Luther King Blvd.

Once you arrive at the Steele Boys Bail Bonds building head around the back and you’ll see the sign.

The website is josiahssoutherncooking.com or you can call them at 850-730-6087.

They are open Monday-Friday 11:00 am - 3:00 pm.

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