After co-building brands with partners for over ten years, Max Bozeman II celebrates the one-year anniversary of possessing 100% ownership of his vastly growing brand. His business The Greasy Spoon Soulfood Bistro has a North Houston location, a food truck in central Houston at the Houston Grub Park, and a Pearland location just opened this month.
In the midst of building his empire, Max has overcome two forms of cancer. However, the Houston Business Journal's Top 40 under 40 Honoree, did not let his diagnosis deter him. Learn more about how he pushed through and continued on to open his second location and more below.
Fancy: How would you describe your swagger? What makes Max, Max?
Max: Max is down to earth and stays hungry. No matter how fresh or well off I may look, I always remain humble to stay on my game and to stay relatable to my people.
Fancy: What sparked the decision to end your partnership(s)?
Max: It was never a definite “let me end this”. Sometimes businesses run their term. My decision to continue without partnership was to make sure I had creative control, and the direction of my business was headed in a way that aligned with my personal goals and beliefs. It was more seamless to not have to deal with the different mindsets and keep myself focused on growing my brand.
Fancy: What was it that attracted you to entrepreneurship?
Max: Growing up I was always exposed to entrepreneurship. Everyone around me was an entrepreneur. For a long time, I had no idea there was anything outside of that. My uncle used to say “Exposure expands expectation” so I grew up being an entrepreneur, inspired by those around me.
Fancy: You opened the first The Greasy Spoon Soulfood Bistro in 2020 which was the start of the pandemic and have since then expanded to a food truck and another location. What was it like initially? Did you face any challenges?
Max: Initially, it was very exciting- my very first business by myself without any investors or help! It was exciting to take what I knew I had in me and be able to introduce the world to it. I was excited to execute what I manifested.
However, I faced challenges trying to figure out how to do this without financing. I had no loans or investors. I had to be creative and figure out how to maintain the vision. It was an interesting learning opportunity, to study and research what works and what doesn’t. PlusI got a kick out of having to grind it out.
Fancy: What advice would you give to other business owners considering opening a second location?
Max: The advice I would give someone thinking about opening a second location would be to make sure you really have solidified your brand. It would be in your best interest to almost make sure your first location can run on autopilot in order to duplicate for a second time. I like to tell others to think of it as you’re starting over at ground zero because things you may have done at the first location may not work at the second. Having a firm foundation and staying focused, keeping that “Hunger Mindset” is key!
Fancy: So where did your cooking skills come from?
Max: My grandmother is the cook of the family! So for many years, I didn’t have to cook; I was the taste tester. My initial passion came from watching her cook for Sunday family dinners. As my grandmother got older, my cousins and I would help her in the kitchen as she gave us recipes and showed us around the kitchen. My grandmother has always been my favorite cook and now we’ve traded places. She loves to see the seed she’s sown grow so beautifully within my brand.
Fancy: How did your cancer diagnosis impact you and your work?
Max: Initially, it impacted me physically, I wasn’t able to be around or be in the restaurant. Mentally it helped me develop overall and it strengthened me. I had to overthink operations, when I wasn’t physically there due to treatments and weakness. I missed it so much that I got a recliner put into the North location for when I wasn’t able to stand, just so I was able to see customers and thank them and support my team.
Fancy: After beating cancer, has your outlook on life changed any, and if yes, how so?
Max: Yes for sure! I appreciate life more. My diagnosis caused me to pause and reflect on what’s most important in life. Now I deal with situations a lot differently and a lot better because in the grand scheme of things some situations don’t really matter and we won’t remember them a year from now. I’m more focused now on living a life that’s honorable, depicting what kind of legacy I will leave the community and those closest to me.
Fancy: What does it mean to you to be a Black man in business?
Max: It means everything to me to be a Black man in business because I know many young men weren’t afforded the same opportunities and support that I was given at a young age. It is such a good feeling for other Black men and young boys to see me doing what I do at the level I do it at. I can be the exposure to expand their expectations, changing the narrative of Black men from negative to positive.
Fancy: Do you have any upcoming events or projects that you care to share?
Max: I don’t have any upcoming events or projects just yet but, stay tuned in the coming years I plan to expand The Greasy Spoon brand across the state of Texas.
Connect with Max and The Greasy Spoon below.
Francheska “Fancy” Felder is a quiet Southern, media mogul in the making. In 2010, she launched SwagHer Magazine, an empowerment and lifestyle publication for the progressive Black community.
Fancy’s passion for all things creative combined with her love for writing, Black culture, and business guided her to also offer her public relations, creative, and branding services, making the magazine more of a media boutique having its own subscription clients as well as advertisers, hence why the name changed to SwagHer Magazine & Media.
SwagHer Magazine uses positive media and storytelling to create new narratives and mindsets around Black people, their communities, and the businesses and organizations they lead. Fancy executes campaigns for Black women-led businesses, coaches, authors, and girl bosses so that they receive more visibility and establish themselves as an authority.
The Mississippi native is also one half of Theories & Thoughts Podcast, a discussion-driven show that tackles Black issues and taboo subjects with a kitchen table talk feel, which she hosts with Arnya T.M. Davis. The two also co-produce and host Theories & Thoughts Deep Dive, a millennial talk show.
The former teen mom graduated from Southwest Mississippi Community College with her associate’s in marketing management and studied mass communications with a focus in public relations from Southern University A&M College.