Taste of Something Different opens downtown

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Tanisha Gully, manager and chef at Taste of Something Different, displays a couple popular dishes inside the restaurant recently.

A Fort Dodge native is putting her culinary skills to work at a new restaurant in the downtown, which offers homemade soul food, Fort Dodge favorites, and a variety of unique dishes.

Tanisha Gully opened Taste of Something Different inside Dodger Tap, 22 N. 12th St., in October. The restaurant and bar operate under two separate owners.

Gully, who grew up in Pleasant Valley, is the owner and chef of the restaurant.

Taste of Something Different offers a full menu ranging from biscuits and gravy for breakfast to gumbo soup for lunch.

“I do different, unique foods,” Gully said. “I create things that a lot of people have never had before. My crab boil, I do cabbage rolls, wontons. Everything I cook is good.”

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
A Gyro sandwich with a side of crispy fries is displayed.

She added, “I am telling you those wontons are the best in town.”

The restaurant is a family-run operation.

“My 15-year-old daughter helps me out,” Gully said. “My son, niece and cousin.”

Gully didn’t always cook growing up. But when she ventured out on her own as a young adult, she realized her talent.

“I had just had my first child,” said Gully, who was 18 at the time. “I remember wanting to do fried chicken covered with barbecue sauce and ever since then I have been creative.”

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
A fish sandwich made with battered Whiting filet on a Hoagie bun served with tartar sauce, pickle, onion, banana peppers, and lettuce, is a popular item on the Taste of Something Different menu at Dodger Tap.

Her mother, sister and sister-in-law taught her some recipes along the way.

“My mom taught me collard greens,” Gully said. “My sister started making the wontons. But I altered the recipe and made it my own.”

Gully said each time she learned a new dish, she tried to put her own spin on it.

“When I experiment with foods, I have a good grip on things to mix together,” she said. “The only thing I really can’t make is cookies. I can’t make homemade cookies for anything. I kind of gave up on that.”

In her late 20s, Gully mastered a number of food items and was told by family she should open a restaurant.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Gumbo soup over white rice and choice of side is the Friday lunch special at Taste of Something Different at Dodger Tap.

“One day my brother was sitting at the table and he said, ‘Mmm this is good, we need to start a restaurant,'” Gully recalled.

That was a few years ago, she said.

“I have been serving large groups of people for years now,” Gully said. “Family events — Thanksgiving, Christmas. I am always the host.”

Gully said her previous work and life experience has prepared her to operate a restaurant.

“My history, my education has brought me to this point,” she said.

While attending Fort Dodge schools, Gully discovered her passion for art.

“I always remember in grade school and middle school, high school, art was my favorite class,” she said.

Gully attended Fort Dodge Senior High and later obtained her GED.

In 2012, she graduated from Iowa Central Community College with an associate degree.

There she took a class called art appreciation.

“I figured out I was really good at ceramics,” Gully said. “It just inspired me and kept me involved. Kept me on my path to continue working towards things.”

After college, Gully worked as an optician assistant and later a dental lab technician.

Most recently, she was employed at Liguria Foods in Humboldt as a quality assurance technician.

That experience allowed her to learn about food safety.

“Everything was sanitary,” Gully said. “People always washed their hands. I don’t want people to get sick. I want people to be safe.”

Now Gully has her own kitchen to manage.

She’s there about 13 hours a day.

“I like being able to make great food and make people happy,” Gully said. “Use my expertise and put it to work.”

The kitchen isn’t the only place she handles food.

She grows her own fruits and vegetables at home.

“I plant a big garden every year,” Gully said. “It does awesome.”

Among the items Gully grows are collard greens, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, watermelon, strawberries and potatoes.

“I think it’s good for my nerves,” she said.

Gully said she’s happy to be able to serve customers in Fort Dodge.

“It’s a great community,” Gully said. “I am from here and would like to do a lot of things here to make change and improve.”