American cuisine

Eurasian-American Chef Shares What Brings Her Peace

Liliya Taylor’s “Neon Lilly” once operated her business as a food truck. She now has a sit-down restaurant in Bridge Street.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. “No matter where you’re from, we know food unites us!

This is what a Russian and Ukrainian woman hopes to bring when you walk through the doors of her restaurant, especially now more than ever.

Keneisha Deas takes us to Bridge Street where we meet the owner of ‘Neon Lilly’!

“We started this in 2014, as a food truck,” said Liliya Taylor, owner of Neon Lilly restaurant.

The restaurant gives us a taste of Taylor’s home country and has been open on Bridge Street for over a year now.

Taylor credits her heritage as inspiration for her cooking. Taylor said she moved to the United States after meeting her husband, who is American, in Kyiv, Ukraine. Her husband served in the army.

Taylor said she has lived in Huntsville for ten years now.

“I was actually born and raised in Kazakhstan, which is the Asian part of the Soviet Union. “That’s how my cuisine is formed, Eurasian-American fusion, because the staple food is Slavic , and that I was born and raised in the Asian part of the Soviet Union, that’s Eurasia.”

His journey is a bond between two countries, which is at the center of attention now as then.

“My mother’s line is from Russia and my father’s line is from Ukraine. They were enemies of the state in Soviet times. That’s how we got Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan was a labor camp.

Taylor can’t help but think of her loved ones as she watches the crisis in Ukraine.

“I feel horrible. I am. My family, my friends from everywhere. I can say a lot more because I have family in Ukraine of course, and in Russia, and in Belgium, and in Germany of course, and Kazakhstan. Nobody wants war. Nobody wants war,” Taylor said.

However, here at Neon Lilly, Taylor hopes you find peace. “If you want to come, negotiate a peace treaty here, I think this is the place. That’s how it was done before. People ate, and that’s how we trade it. Because if you’re happy, you have a happy stomach. You have a better mood. So historically I think it’s done that way, a long time ago anyway.

“Just peace for everyone,” Taylor added.