Eatie’s aspires to add more than just soul food to the community

Eatie’s aspires to add more than just soul food to the community

Eatie’s aspires to add more than just soul food to the community
March 08
00:12 2018

There are a lot of hidden gems in Denton, but not all of them have quite the same soul.

Located at 500 N. Bell Ave., Eatie’s will lead you to Johnny Joe’s convenience store. The busy person just dropping by to fill up their tank with gas may not notice that inside is a soul food joint with food arguably more satisfying than the average corn dog you would normally find in a convenience store.

Constance Pullam and Delverk Woods, co-owners of Eatie’s, partnered with Johnny Joe’s in February 2017 and have been making their sought-after soul food in the kitchen there ever since.

Woods, who is one of the head cooks and oversees the Eatie’s Houston location, is pleased with the momentum the restaurant has picked up in such a short time.

“That is excellent,” Woods said. “It’s a good feeling — it means people believe in your food and like what you’re doing.”

With encouragement from friends and family, Woods decided to turn his hobby of cooking into a business venture, and Eatie’s opened within the same week. He partially credits the ease of restaurant life to his grandfather.

“I’ve always been a cook,” Woods said. “My grandfather owned a small restaurant here in Denton a long time ago, so it’s kind of in my genes to do it.”

Having been a Denton resident since 2003, Woods was motivated to specifically open a restaurant in Denton when he noticed the absence of other soul food places in town.

“They had the little barbecue stands of course, but no one was really making oxtails and neckbones — the kind of thing people really like on a ‘soul food Sunday,’” Woods said. “They needed something here in this community.”

Community is the foundational element of Eatie’s. Pullam and Woods, who met through their church community, aspire to use their restaurant to bring the people of Denton together.

“Our hope is to really get a brick and mortar building that’s just ours where our customers can come in, sit [and] listen to some good music,” Woods said.

Meeting and forming bonds with the people who come to Eatie’s is Pullman’s favorite part.

“I just really enjoy people, and you meet so many different people from all walks of life by just being here,” Pullman said.

Marissa Listenbee, 24, is one of Eatie’s regular customers. After dining there for the first time just two months ago, she has quickly formed a friendly relationship with Pullam, who responds, “For you, anything,” when Listenbee asks for a wing combo.

“I used to come [to Johnny Joe’s] in the morning time and just happened to look at the [Eatie’s] menu,” Listenbee said. “[Pullam] told me to try it out, and we went from there.”

For Listenbee, Eatie’s soulful spin brings an element of home she has been missing in Denton.

“I’m from Dallas, so the food is like back home,” Listenbee said. “It’s been hard for me to find Southern cooking [here], so I wouldn’t have to go back to Dallas every time I wanted some good food.”

Pullman is a natural in the kitchen. With three different orders to prepare, she glides through the narrow space with ease, getting all three dishes prepared in the span of 10 minutes. 

With so much recent success in the last year, Pullam and Woods have had to transition to lunch-only hours. However, customers don’t seem to mind waiting for any meal the team is cooking up.

“People will say, ‘If you’re not here, I don’t want to come!’” Pullam said.

Though her smile and welcoming nature are ever-present, as with every business, Pullam finds that there are still a few difficulties to owning a rapidly growing restaurant.

“Working for yourself, sometimes by yourself [can be difficult],” Pullam said. “Just the dynamics of the space being this small — that’s challenging. All my good days definitely outweigh the bad, so I won’t complain.”

Running Eatie’s has allowed Pullam and Woods to put themselves in a position to be able to provide more than just good food for the Denton community.

“Quakertown Park has a huge homeless population,” Pullam said. “A lot of times [they] don’t have any food to eat, so if I have extra food left at the end of the day I’ll give it to them or tell them to come at 3 when we close. It’s really a blessing to be able to do that.”

Woods wants to extend Eatie’s influence in the community even more, too.

“We’re already giving to scholarships for kids in the community, but I want to give more,” he said. “I really hope Eatie’s will be a big giver to the community as far as our kids.”

Pullam and Woods take pride in knowing that in just one year, Eatie’s has become a place the people of Denton can go to for both comforting soul food and good conversation.

Featured Image: Eatie’s is a soul food restaurant in Denton, Texas. Jessika Hardy

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Nikki Johnson-Bolden

Nikki Johnson-Bolden

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