Topeka community helps Nanny’s Soul Food owner after banner fire

Shavonn “Nanny” Smith says she cried all day after seeing Wednesday that —  in a situation that might have racial implications — an arsonist had destroyed the advertising banner outside the struggling soul food restaurant she owns in East Topeka.

Smith, who is Black, recalled that an earlier banner outside her small restaurant, Nanny’s Soul Food, had been incinerated the same way.

“I was broken,” she said.

But her fellow Topekans subsequently “came and lifted me up,” Smith said Friday.

“The community has been amazing,” she said. “They’ve been very uplifting, so I am very thankful and truly blessed that there is more good than hate out here, which makes me really, really happy.”

Nanny’s opened in July 2018 at 1000 S.E. 21st, and has since moved to its current site at 2410 S.E. 6th Ave.