Texas Connect Us: The Story Behind Dallas’ Sweet Georgia Brown - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Texas Connect Us: The Story Behind Dallas’ Sweet Georgia Brown

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    Texas Connect Us: The Story Behind Dallas’ Sweet Georgia Brown
    NBC 5 News

    Good food can be found in many places across North Texas, but it's the story of the man behind Sweet Georgia Brown in Dallas that caught our attention.

    Walt Williams was born into a single parent home in the Bronx.

    "At the time there was six of us, and we were struggling pretty bad and when we would go to school, I think the school house saw how bad we were struggling -- so they turned it over to the authorities, and one thing lead to another, so they came in there and snatched us up," Williams recalled.

    He ended up in a children's home in upstate New York, where he learned to cook and play football.

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    "I stayed there from the age of seven until I was almost 21," he said. "They had that talk with me, like 'hey man you're fixing to graduate high school, what are you going to do in life?'"

    Williams recalls holding a directory of colleges, and when his hand fell on New Mexico State University he felt like God was leading the way.

    So he hitchhiked from New York to Las Cruces, New Mexico. It took him three weeks to get there, and when he arrived he marched right into the university's football office.

    "What would you say, if you saw a person come in and looked like he was homeless and starving to death and everything else and he comes in and says, 'hey, I'm here to play football, I'm here to play coach. Let's do this'?"

    Four years later, Williams was a college graduate and the first player selected by the Detroit Lions in the 1977 NFL Draft.

    He played seven seasons of professional football alongside greats like Walter Payton. By the mid 80s his football career was over.

    While his love of cooking was still there, he found great success in real estate -- that is, until the market crashed.

    "And so we lost a lot, cause everybody was running scared at the time," Williams said.

    Williams estimates he lost about $480 million, but he never stopped smiling. "Because there's always hope for the future," he said.

    His future took him back to the kitchen.

    Williams opened Sweet Georgia Brown nearly 24 years ago, and now it's a South Dallas staple.

    Williams says preparing meals is a lot like life.

    "It's a process that we go through. It's not a microwave process, there's no quick fix," Williams said. It takes time, time, time, time."