“You saw me take my first breath. I saw you take your last. Daddy 5-23-85 – 8-23-21,” reads the tattoo on Lakirah Alexander’s arm. The inked words and art of a broken heart honor Alexander’s father, who was a victim of gun violence.

“Makes you think. Makes you wonder,” said Valerie Alexander, Lakirah’s grandmother. “We sat down with family and decided to open a business. For Lakirah, it’s a good way for her to learn responsibility and honor her father, make him proud. It’s all about her building a life that she wants, and she has family to help her do just that.”

Driven and determined, Lakirah, with her grandmother’s help, opened Tasty Takes, a restaurant on U.S. 49 in Star, all while juggling what comes with being a busy, graduating senior at McLaurin High School.

From end-of-year classes to being on the basketball team to prom, graduation and college campus visits, her to-do list would frazzle many adults.

“I like it a lot, and I get to meet all kinds of people,” Lakirah said of her blooming business. “I’m learning how to earn money for my future because I am going to college. I’m thinking about something in the medical field,” said the young restaurant owner.

Tasty Takes isn’t big, nor is it fancy, but the customers line up Monday through Saturday for burgers, hot dogs, french fries and sodas. A few picnic tables invite some to sit outside awhile when the weather is good and enjoy their meals while traffic zips by on the highway.

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