Jetuan Lanette Perkins was a loving mother, social worker and activist with a passion for serving her community. She and husband Todd Perkins hosted picnics and potlucks to bring the block together, all while planning a family eatery of their own one day. “My wife loved to do community outreach and food was always part of it – things like picnics for Angel’s Night volunteers – but she always wanted her own restaurant,” Todd says.
Lanette passed away from lupus complications in 2016, but her dream was realized last August when Todd opened a shrimp house named in her honor. It lives in a Highland Park storefront that used to be home to Miley & Miley Shrimp Shack – a city seafood staple until it closed about six years ago.
“We self-funded the entire thing,” Todd says. “Balancing my law practice and suddenly being a single dad meant I couldn’t open the place sooner. A few times it didn’t seem like things were coming to fruition, but you can’t be late on God’s time.”
Lanette’s Shrimp House serves the classic Miley trio of fried shrimp, fish and wings alongside soul food sides, plus new additions to the menu like turkey tacos. The weekend special is ribs and chicken made with a secret sauce that’s been in the Perkins family for 50 years. Everyone helps keep the restaurant running – even the kids.
“The ultimate plan is to invigorate the entire building – not just the restaurant part – and create new energy for that whole area,” Todd says. “Jetuan believed in black people working towards strong communities that feed and support themselves and each other.” Lanette’s is hard to miss. The shack is accented in purple for lupus awareness and Mrs. Perkins’ favorite color.
13548 Woodward Ave., Highland Park