Annie M’s Café bringing Southern cooking to Flora
Growing up in the kitchen, Anne Myers was surrounded by flavor, originality and family.
Now, with several decades of experience scattered across the food industry, she is bringing it all home to Flora in her Annie M’s Café. Myers said she was not specifically looking to start another restaurant but the opportunity fell in her lap.
“I had been wanting to get back into the restaurant business,” she said. “I was at the Cotton Exchange (shopping center) a few weeks ago and talked to Michael Penn and he gave me a smoking deal.”
Located at 740 U.S. 49 Suite A in Flora (in the old Penn’s location), Myers opened the doors for Annie M’s Café on Nov. 1. Called “Annie M” by her sister’s children, Myers decided to use the name on her new food venture that offers a breakfast, lunch and supper menu with plenty of Southern and Cajun-inspired dishes to choose from.
“We have breakfast from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Then a Blue Plate every day from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. with two entrée choices and about 10 sides to choose from for $8.95,” she said. “We’ll have a menu with hamburgers, shrimp plate, real catfish on both the blue plate and from the menu and a lot of Cajun-inspired dishes. We’ll be open 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. every night but Sundays. I will have a Sunday buffet from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. We will still do breakfast on Sunday as well. It’s southern Cajun food with a twist. I’ll have chicken and sausage Gumbo, shrimp baskets, shrimp dishes and blackened fish.”
On Friday and Saturday nights, she has plans to offer chef specials such as filets, seafood and more. The philosophy for her menu is to serve more affordable items to serve more people rather than offering a few high-priced items for fewer people.
“That’s my plan,” she said. “Hopefully it will work. I was floored at the price of chicken tenders. But I won’t skimp on products to make a lesser product.”
The restaurant seats 95 people and has a full staff but is always looking for more qualified people to join the team.
“I haven’t had too much trouble finding people to work,” Myers said, adding her children take a week off work to help and her 90-year-old mother wants to be the hostess along with another lady in town wants to help. “Everything is coming together.”
With a mother who “catered for free,” Myers grew up in the kitchen helping her mother serve large fundraisers and social gatherings.
“As long as I can remember, my mother has always cooked for large crowds,” she said. “I just loved to cook and needed a job years ago and applied for a manager position in a Mexican Restaurant and learned a lot about the restaurant business.”
Her career kept evolving with different food industry sales jobs. One of her customers wanted to lease out his deli business. She jumped in but a new opportunity came along.
“Four people had opened Main Street Café, and they gave me a super deal to take it over,” she said. “It did great for years.”
She closed her deli business and dove full time into the Main Street Café venture. In 2007, Myers was thinking about making changes but her banker advised her not to as the economy was tanking. Then she was offered a job by a corporate restaurant chain to manage a new store. She closed Main Street Café, sold most of her equipment and put the rest in storage.
“The last few years, I’ve done food-related things,” Myers said. “I’ve been a food broker, worked for a grocery store chain managing their delis. Then worked for a convenience store chain managing their delis.”
Now she is bringing it all back home with Annie M’s Café at 740 U.S. 49 Suite A in Flora (in the old Penn’s location). Call 601-879-9959.