African-American Icons: Olean McCaskill

Olean McCaskill
Posted at 6:00 PM, Feb 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-15 10:06:50-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - WTXL ABC 27 is showcasing those in the community who have made a difference in the lives of others, with our "African-American Icon" series.

Tonight we're visiting a soul food restaurant that has been handing out food with love for over two decades, but it's the woman behind the recipes that keeps folks lining up day after day.

Just down the road from the State Capitol Building on South Adams Street sits a restaurant known for its down-home soul food.

Olean's Café has been dishing up southern staples with all the fixins for almost 22 years. and whether it's Breakfast or lunch, owner and Olean McCaskill is making the rounds.

"My passion always been to cook and to make people happy," said McCaskill.

Mrs. McCaskill started cooking by the age of 14, and immediately started working in restaurants around Tallahassee, but it wasn't long before she began cooking with her own flavor and her own style. Olean's Cafe started in the State Department of Revenue. In 1997, McCaskill moved opening up her current location.

"What has kept me going is, number one you got to have Jesus in the mix," said McCaskill.

The truth is, what keeps her going is her loving and positive attitude towards others and her Food. Folks flock to Olean's for the home cooked meals and the prices.

She explained, "Sometimes people come in and they don't have enough money or somebody needs something to eat and I say, "Well lord I got all this food, ain't nobody got no business being hungry."

She simply treats others like one of her own, from her workers to her customers everyone is family. But it was after a day in 2016 when she knew she was blessed. Vice President Joe Biden made a surprise visit during last years campaigning.

"That was one awesome, awesome day and me not really knowing that they were coming it was a great big surprise," said McCaskill. "He said, "Now you got a Obama Breakfast, are you gonna have the Biden Breakfast?" I said, "Well no, I'm going to have a lunch for you so we have the Biden's Choice."

No matter if it's pork chops or collard greens, black eyed peas or chicken, there's a plate just for you. And if you have a sweat tooth, how about daily baked cakes. As for Mrs. McCaskill, she enjoys being among the community feeding the city she loves. And has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.

"I see myself as still coming in Olean's when I'm 80, as long as I can go and cook this food and my hands do the working I'm gonna be good," said McCaskill. 

And because of her tireless effort and love for others, Olean McCaskill is one of WTXL ABC27's African American Icons.