By Vicky Branton
The Daily Iberian
Cheers was the name of the favorite bar in the television show by the same name. Friends would gather at the end of the day, or anytime, to enjoy adult beverages and conversation. The new location for Annie Mae’s On the Bayou in Franklin has the potential to be one of those spots you want to drop in, or take out, for breakfast or lunch. Hopefully in the future, some special night events, too. It’s only been open about five months — the new sign hasn’t arrived. Locals will call it the former name when giving directions, Joe’s On the Bayou. A spontaneous but long awaited interview during a trip to Meyers Shoe Store in Franklin brought an introduction to the eat-in or carry-out diner — a place where everyone, almost, knows your name.
How long have you had this place?
Annie Mae’s On the Bayou opened about five months ago. This is not my first business. I was on Barrow Street maybe 10 to 12 years. That was Annie Mae’s, now it’s Annie Mae’s On the Bayou. Even before that I had a donut shop off of Main Street. Food has always been my thing.
Where did you get the name since your name is Felicia Mitchell?
That’s my mom, she’s the one that taught me how to cook. She taught me everything I know. We make everything from scratch. And on top of everything, our main ingredient is love. My husband, Bernard Mitchell, is the pit master for barbecue.
What is your favorite thing to cook, or what do your customers like the best?
Just about everything. My favorite and they love it, is the bread pudding with the rum sauce (VB — big enough and heavy enough to feed four). And they love our fettuccine, we have crawfish, shrimp, chicken — they love that. I don’t really have a regular menu, whatever I want to make, and depending on the weather, that’s what we go by.
Do you eat your own cooking?
Very seldom. By the time I get through cooking, at the end of the day when I’m hungry, I do drive through. (VB — speaking of heavy bread pudding, Ed “Tiger” Verdin said it is really light, but with all the love, it feels just feels heavy.)
Tell me your favorite thing to cook or a memory from your mother.
She showed me how to make a roux. The crawfish stew, the chicken stew, you have to make a homemade roux. I can remember me standing on the chair and I was afraid. You know the roux pops, it’s hot. She’d say, you got to hang in there and stay with it. Don’t slop it or it will get on you. Once you got that roux down, you got it. That’s it.
Did your mom have a restaurant?
No she just fed us kids. Back in the day, that’s what they would do. My dad worked and mom cooked. We were six, one died and I’m the baby. I was there for it all. I have two children and my daughter helps sometimes but she has her own business, a cosmetology hair shop on Main Street.
What is your business philosophy, working with employees and customers?
Love, my secret is love. I like to mingle with my people. Love is the key, you put that love in it, you put the love in your food, that’s all you need to do. What we do now is make homemade pies and desserts and we give it away complimentary everyday. We pick a random number on the receipt. Not just one winner, two to three a day, depending on what time I get to make it. I’m not in business to get rich, I’m in business because I love what I do.
Getting Ready For Thanksgiving
Want something traditional and yet new for Thanksgiving? Try this.
Thanksgiving quiche puts sweet potatoes front and center. Sweet potatoes are a favorite side dish at Thanksgiving dinner tables. Packed with vitamins, nutrients, fiber and delectable flavor, sweet potatoes have earned their place on holiday dinner tables. While many holiday hosts bake, fry or mash their sweet potatoes, these beloved tubers can be prepared in other ways as well.
If you want to put a new twist on this Thanksgiving staple, whip up a recipe for “Sweet Potato Quiche,” courtesy of the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission. Submitted to the NC State Fair Tailgate Recipe Contest by Kristen Frybort, this recipe marries sweet tubers with decadent cheese, rich cream and savory spices.
Still looking for the perfect turkey recipe?
Try this tasty take on turkey just in time for Thanksgiving. Perhaps no day is more synonymous with a certain dish than Thanksgiving is with turkey. As tasty as turkey can be, this flavorful fowl doesn’t find its way onto many families’ dinner tables unless it’s Thanksgiving day. Secret family turkey recipes may reign supreme in some households, but holiday hosts with no such resources can consider a unique recipe for “Holiday Turkey” from Andrew Schloss’ “Cooking Slow” (Chronicle Books). By slow cooking the turkey, cooks can ensure it’s evenly cooked.
Even though turkey may be synonymous with Thanksgiving, hosts and hostesses should not shy away from serving something different. In fact, turkey may not even have been on the menu for the first Thanksgiving. Host a turkey-free Thanksgiving with a Thanksgiving goose, a more likely option at the first Thanksgiving.