College student who owns food business says he’s ready for crowds after positive review by TikTok food critic Keith Lee

Ishmael Wilson is the owner of HTX Food Plug. He makes boudin balls fried in a Hot Cheetos crust.

HOUSTON — A small business owner in Houston prepped for potentially his busiest weekend yet Friday after viral food critic Keith Lee reviewed his boudin balls.

Ishmael Wilson is a full-time college student who started his own business in 2020.

“I was doing it out of my dorm and at my mom’s house,” Wilson said 

He’s the owner of HTX Food Plug. Just two months ago, Wilson leveled up and opened his own shop in Third Ward. 

So far, he said it’s been successful with lines out the door when he opens on Saturdays and Sundays. Wilson said the community loves his boudin balls fried in a Hot Cheetos crust. 

He’s now preparing for the unexpected this weekend after Keith Lee shared a review of Wilson’s boudin balls on TikTok Monday from his recent visit to Houston. 

“He was reaching out to try the boudin balls,” Wilson recalled of his messages with Lee. “He said, ‘You know, I usually don’t do this. But, you know, you’re my last option before I leave.’”

Wilson said he almost missed Lee as he was about to fly out of town. So, Wilson and his family rushed the boudin balls to both airports, not knowing which one Lee was flying out of, but the two finally connected. 

Wilson just so happened to be at the right place at the right time. 

Lee gave him an 8.9, which Wilson was happy with. He said he never doubted himself or his food. 

“You got to be your number one fan,” Wilson said. “You got to always promote yourself.”

Lee also donated $2,500 to Wilson, which he said he invested back into his business. 

HTX Food Plug is a family affair. 

“My beautiful sister, Aiyanna Faye, she’s been with me since day one. I love her to death,” Wilson said.

“I always had his back,” Faye said. “He always had my back.”

The sibling entrepreneurs said they don’t know what to expect after the viral review. However, they said they welcome any blessings that may come their way. Not just this weekend, but for whatever else lies ahead.

@keith_lee125

#stitch with @Htxfoodplug🤩 Houston Boudin Ball taste test 💕 would you try it ? 💕 #foodcritic

♬ original sound – Keith Lee

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