Big Momma’s Soul Food Kitchen on West Broadway has served hot meals since 2004, but the small building serving takeout across the street from Shawnee Park is set to close in November.
Owner Jessie Green announced her retirement and said that if no one buys and takes over the business, it will close.
“I can’t handle it no more,” Green said. “I can’t stand up on my feet too long. I’m tired. It’s been at least 17 and a half years.”
Big Momma’s Soul Food Kitchen has been serving large appetites from a tiny building on West Broadway.
Getting a meat and sides to go is like getting a big hug for some people.
On Thursday, the Big Momma’s staff was rushing to feed the lunch crowd that had gathered for takeout.
Green’s son was cooking the fried chicken, her sister was preparing the greens, and Green’s daughter, Sheryl Fox, was taking customer orders.
“The neighborhood does need a place like this that does the home cooked food,” Fox said. “Because there’s nothing around here. So yes, it’s going to a sad day.”
Many of the people who came in on Thursday had been coming to Big Momma’s for years, drawn by the comfort food-filled menu.
“The meatloaf. I like the meatloaf,” customer Steve Kincade said. “ And the good cooking really is momma’s cooking.”
But some said the nourishment goes beyond the food. On Christmas, Green made a tradition of serving families a free hot meal.
“It’s home,” customer Rita Mitchell said. “You know, you can get a homecooked meal whenever your mom and dad’s not going to cook you can always come here and they treat you like family.”
Green offered free advice to anyone willing to buy her business and keep the kitchen running.
“Be nice to the customers,” she said. “Do the food right. Don’t mess up. Don’t overcharge. Don’t be greedy. I mean, be reasonable with everybody. It’ll come to you if it’s meant for you. It’ll come to you.”