Community, business leaders remember French Toast Bites founder Charisse McGill during memorial

Charisse McGill died unexpectedly on January 15th.

Christie Ileto Image
Friday, January 26, 2024
Memorial held for French Toast Bites founder Charisse McGill
Charisse McGill died unexpectedly on January 15th.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- She was a trailblazer, carving out a path for women and minority entrepreneurs at a time when many in the food industry were going under.

Charisse McGill was remembered Friday at a memorial service at St. Joseph's University.

But it wasn't just her famous French Toast bites that made her stand out, it was her ability to mentor some of the city's most at risk.

RELATED: Charisse McGill, small Philadelphia business owner known for French Toast Bites, dies at 42

"I think that's one of the biggest loss because she always hired young African Americans for different opportunities around the city," said Kim Carter with the African American Chamber of Commerce.

"Charisse knew her purpose, she knew why she was here. It was about helping others, uplifting other people-especially our young people and giving you something good to eat at the same time," said Patty Jackson, WDAS Radio.

Right before the pandemic, McGill quit her job to open her French Toast Bites food stand at Christmas Village.

It became an instant staple, allowing her to expand to be year-round at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and Spruce Street Harbor Park, where she was the first Black female-owned business.

She most recently sealed a deal with the Sixers and became the lead of the Farmer's Market Coalition.

"And you just wanted to support her because you watched how she helped so many other people," Jackson added.

Jackson says the last time she saw McGill was actually right here at Action News during the 6abc Dunkin' Holiday Food Drive telethon in November.