MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Lil Greenhouse Grill is a charming eatery in the heart of Overtown with the emphasis on “Lil” said managing partner Nicole Gates.

“A lot of people wonder where did you get the ‘Lil” from. Well, it’s because we’re smaller than little as you can see. It’s Lil,” she said.

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With 35 seats inside, Gates and her co-partner Chef Karim Bryant fill the small space with special touches making it feel homey and warm.

The art is custom and made by Bryant’s uncle.

“We actually are a family-owned restaurant and we incorporate family as much as possible.”

And yes, green is everywhere.

“When doing our research about the restaurant, we found that green stimulates the appetite, so that’s why you’ll see a lot of sage in here. You’ll see a lot of green,” she explained.

“Oh, so that’s why I’m getting hungry,” joked CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo.

As for the food? They call it neo soul, a healthy alternative to soul food.

“Soul food is derived by the African American culture of cooking and a lot of times especially back in the early days,” said Gates.

“Some of the food was not cooked in a healthier form, with lots of fat. What we have done is kind of altered the recipes a little bit,” she added.

Back in early 2019, Lil Greenhouse Grill was honored for its healthy options.

They received a surprise visit from the one and only Oprah Winfrey, her best friend Gayle King, and a CBS News crew as a promotion with Weight Watchers.

Now, Gates said she wants everyone to discover how Overtown has blossomed.

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“We want them to take away the fact that this is a viable community. It’s full of loving people, full of restaurants that are doing very well, and businesses that are doing well,” she explained.

“They are always welcome to come back here and patronize our wonderful community,” she added.

Back in the kitchen, Bryant prepares the tasting dishes and joins CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo for the tasting. We begin with the healthy farmed raised  Salmon Salad.

“We also get a fresh mixture from the local hydroponics lab,” said Bryant.

“It’s a hot summer day, and it’s a cold salad, It all works. It’s delicious,” said Petrillo.

Next, a beautifully plated Fried Snapper with a side of cornbread and housemade pineapple chutney, and housemade aioli.

“I love snapper,” said Bryant.

“Love the crunch. There’s a little bit of a kick to it. It’s like a fun dish but also a delicacy.

 “Really nice,“ said Petrillo.

And finally, their classic pork ribs are smoked with hickory and applewood. It is served with great sides that include mac and cheese and collard greens.

“I butcher these myself and season them,” said Bryant.

“I will get messy any day for your ribs and your rub is insane,” said Petrillo. 

“It’s just fall off the bone good and you just want to have fun with it all day long.”

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Lil Greenhouse Grill is open Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For More information, click here.

Lisa Petrillo