Gullah Geechee people have preserved the heritage of their ancestors more than any other Black Americans in the United States. They are descendants of Central and West African people who were enslaved together on the isolated sea and barrier islands that span what is now designated as the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor – a stretch of the U.S. coastline that extends from southern North Carolina to Northern Florida.

The result of the isolation was an intense interaction among them from different language groups in settings where they formed the majority. Over time, they developed the creole Gullah Geechee language as a means of communicating with each other. They also preserved many African practices in their language, arts, crafts and especially the cuisine.


Virgil's Gullah Kitchen & Bar was named in honor of Virgil F. Smalls, who is the late father and father-in-law of the owners, Gregory & Juan Smalls. Virgil raised his family on James Island, which is just off the coast of Charleston, SC, which is rich in Gullah Geechee culture. All of our dishes are inspired by Virgil's own Family Recipes and are thoughtfully prepared with pride. We are most known for our delectable rice dishes, which was passed down from our ancestors who were brought from rice-producing Sierra Leone and surrounding countries. Virgil's was created to provide a space to enjoy great food, amazing service, and an abundance of love, while helping to preserve the Gullah Geechee Culture.