December is a big month for a small, downhome downtown cafe. T’s Comfort Food at 830 Louisiana Avenue turned ONE on December 1. December is an auspicious month for owner Teketia Pipkins- it is also her birthday month.
T’s solid plates of Southern soul food consistently get great reviews- ‘Delicious food, friendly staff‘, is a recurring theme, but our favorite review is posted on T’s Facebook page. ‘Mom had those beef tips from T’s. Killed them in the car and passed out.‘
T has a full menu every day but her special draw is the plate lunch served from 11am-2pm or until the food runs out. Her lunches are deep on flavor, comfort and love and feature smothered pork chops, fried catfish, red beans and sausage, beef tips, baked chicken and dressing…and for those searching for real Soul food- pig’s feet!
Sides are Southern traditional favorites- mac and cheese, mixed greens, black-eyed peas, purple hull peas, green beans, yams, cornbread. Desserts are homemade- peach cobbler & honey bun cake. You will NOT leave hungry, but you might, indeed, need a mid-afternoon forty winks.
T’s cooking has managed to overcome a location that was long-vacant, is a bit out of the way and can be confusing to find. The former KCS cafe building sits rights on the train tracks on Louisiana Avenue, but you cannot get there in a direct route from downtown because the tracks just to the north of the restaurant are closed to vehicular traffic. The best way to go is to drive via Louisiana Ave. from Fairfield, or to get there from Marshall via Lake Street. Once you get there, you will be glad you made the effort.
Original Story- December 4, 2021
Downtown’s newest eatery opened its doors on Tuesday, Dec. 1 with a menu heavy on Southern Soul. T’s Comfort Food is open Mon.- Fri. 11 am- 7 pm and Sundays noon-5 pm. They offer weekday $10 plate lunch specials that rotate by day but include such southern favorite as smothered pork chops and baked chicken with dressing. Your plate lunches come with two sides and a big slab of cornbread. One thing is certain- you will NOT leave hungry!
Read more about ‘T’- Teketia Pipkins- and how her restaurant came to be!
Teketia Pipkins has been around great food since she was a child, and by the age of 10, she was comfortable in the kitchen herself. Teketia, pronounced ‘Taquita’, comes by her love of cooking and making people feel at home naturally. Her mother, grandmother and great grandmother all loved to cook and were eager to pass their tips and recipes down. She worked with her brother Wil in restaurants he was employed at or managed, and most recently she has been working with her cousin Cassandra at Cassandra’s Louisiana Kitchen on Jewella Ave. You could say that food is a family affair and you would be right.
Teketia enjoyed working for family members, but wanted her own place to showcase her southern soul food specialties; things like homemade macaroni and cheese, and the cakes and pies she cooked with her Great Grandmother that were made completely from scratch. “I want to leave people with a great experience,” said Teketia. “I want them to have good customer experience, see that the place is clean and neat and I want them to feel at home.” 830 Louisiana Avenue at Lake Street was a ‘fit.’
Teketia plans to serve up southern fried chicken, pork chops, mustard greens, green beans and potatoes, baked chicken with dressing, fish and shrimp and burgers. She knows that most folks don’t have the time, inclination or ability to whip up nightly southern soul delights, and that’s OK because she will do them for you. The $10 11 am- 2 pm lunch specials will change each day but you can also order off the menu which she is still finalizing. There is one certain thing— cornbread. “We didn’t grow up with rolls and other bread, we grew up with cornbread,” says Teketia. “My meals always come with cornbread.” By the way, Teketia is an advocate of ‘regular’ cornbread, not the sweet kind. She will be helped in her first restaurant venture by her mother, her brother and her grown children, all of who will have important roles to play.
T’s Comfort Foods at 830 Louisiana will be open Monday-Friday 11 am- 7 pm and Sundays noon- 5 pm for lunch and early dinner, or to pick up dinners on the way home from work or church. Their phone number is 318-848-7795. See the yummy menu HERE and HERE.
She will also be on DoorDash and Grubhub. Pending all approvals, she plans to open T’s on Tuesday, Dec. 1 and hold a grand opening on Dec. 19. Teketia has a history of food as does the building. For most of its past, 830 Louisiana was adjacent to the former Union Station train station. Dozens of passenger trains came through every day in the early years, which meant a lot of hungry diners descended on the 2100 sq. ft. cafe daily. The little triangular building opened as the Queen Cafe in 1923, became the
Roosevelt Cafe in 1943, Ablon’s #2 in 1945, Fox’s/KCS Restaurant 1946-1963, and KCS Restaurant 1964-1971. It closed in 1971, two years after Union Station closed, burned and was demolished.
The building sat vacant for years, owned by a local man who did not even realize he owned the building. It took the efforts of contractor Greg Solomon, a man who loves the history and mystery of old buildings, to track the owner down and make the sale. Solomon then launched into a rehab, intending to rent it as a restaurant or perhaps to run a restaurant himself.
Sanity prevailed and he determined it would be best for someone else to take on the task of restaurant ownership/management. Teketia is glad of that. She is ready and willing to do the work, to feed the hungry hordes who show up for lunch, an afternoon break or early dinner and to make sure they keep coming back for more.