Rebecca’s Taste of the South – a loving daughter’s passion

Jul 17, 2015 | Business Growth | 8 comments

Eartha and Cedric Collier enjoy the cozy hearth at Rebecca’s Taste of the South

If you drive Harris Boulevard near I-85 on a regular basis, you’ve likely seen the sign for Rebecca’s Taste of the South and wondered, “Are they another chain?” Owner Eartha Collier, Rebecca’s youngest child, loves telling visitors no and hearing, “Good!” Even more, she loves serving them Rebecca’s signature dishes like catfish, collard greens and potato salad and hearing, “Don’t do anything different!”

Eartha and her husband, Cedric, opened Rebecca’s this spring on University Center Boulevard, the road leading to four restaurants that front West W.T. Harris Boulevard near I-85, including Chili’s and Cheddar’s. The Colliers launched Rebecca’s slowly, offering only lunches until recently while training the staff and fine-tuning the menu.

Their restaurant celebrates the life, lessons and culinary skills of Rebecca Welfare of Orangeburg, SC. Rebecca passed away in 2011 at the age of 92.
“She was the culinary matriarch of our community,” Eartha recalls. “Friends and family loved coming to our house to eat because they knew that whatever she cooked up, it would be tasty, fresh from the garden and full of love.”

Lessons for life

The family had little money, but Rebecca was a master of the garden and the kitchen. Eartha began her cooking lessons early. “From the age of 6. I was tied to her apron strings. I literally followed her all around the garden and the kitchen,” she says.
Eartha also witnessed the soothing power of food and fellowship firsthand from her momma. “She used food to bring people together.”
Rebecca taught all six of her children the importance of getting a good education and doing things well, Eartha says. “Momma had a saying: ‘Do the right thing and do it to the fullest.’”
Eartha took that advice to heart. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at South Carolina State University in her hometown, and a PhD in Counselor Education from the University of South Carolina in Columbia.
Eartha also found a good man for life’s journey. “We met in 12th grade and became an item!” Eartha says of Cedric. He also graduated from S.C. State, with a major in biology and minor in chemistry and a M.P.H. in Environmental Health Science from the University of South Carolina in Columbia. Their careers soon took them north, where Eartha went on to teach college, provide counseling and also work as a motivational speaker. Cedric, meanwhile, served in the Army for five years obtaining the rank of Captain and then worked for 25 years in corporate safety management.

Five years in the making

Chicken, mac and cheese, collard greens and potato salad – just like Rebecca used to make!

Five years ago, Eartha began thinking that it was time to take a new path – a path back to her roots and to the passion for cooking that she shared with Rebecca. “To do a restaurant right you have to have fire in the belly for it, all day and all night, and I have fire in the belly for all things culinary,” she says.
Eartha also shares her momma’s belief in doing things “to the fullest.” She enrolled in a strong culinary arts program at a community college, eventually earning credentials in culinary arts, hospitality management and restaurant management.
Then she and Cedric researched places across America that might appreciate a restaurant showcasing authentic Southern foods. That research led them to Charlotte, and good luck led them to a vacant restaurant building in University City.
First impressions matter, and when they walked in and saw the big fireplace in the spacious central lobby, Eartha was hooked.

Welcome to Rebecca’s

First-time visitors can be forgiven for wondering if this is just another chain restaurant. A steakhouse chain did build it, after all. The personal touches are all Eartha’s. She credits her many years as a counselor and motivational speaker for the idea to put up signs with comforting slogans like “Friends Gather Here” at the full-service bar, and “Good Food, Good Friends, Good Times” over the kitchen door. Soft jazz and “old school” popular music add to the relaxing atmosphere.

Friends Gather Here, says a sign on the spacious full-service bar

The restaurant’s many booths and tables mean there’s plenty of space for both groups and those regulars who prefer to spend time alone with a good book and a good meal.
The menu showcases Rebecca’s “Southern cuisine, made from scratch,” Eartha says: “The macaroni and cheese, made with real cheeses. And good old-fashioned potato salad. And of course the collard greens!”
“People tell us we’ve got the best catfish in town,” Cedric adds. “And the baby back ribs – the honey-glazed baby back ribs are huge sellers.”
The extensive menu has many other dishes, including sandwiches, salads, appetizers and desserts.
The Colliers hope you’ll love the food as much as they do. And Eartha hopes that you will find a little of Rebecca’s kitchen here on each visit.
“We want Rebecca’s Taste of the South to be a place where people look forward to coming to for good food and good times, and to escape the stressors of life,” Eartha says – just like home.

Want to go?

Rebecca’s Taste of the South is at 630 University Center Blvd., beside Cheddar’s.
The restaurant seats 303, including 74 seats in a separate dining room available for parties, meetings and other events. The full-service bar seats 72.
Hours: 11 am-9 pm Tue-Thu; 11 am-10 pm Fri-Sat; 11 am-9 pm Sun; closed Mondays
Phone: 980-224-7047
Website: The restaurant website, www.rebeccastaste.com, will be up in approximately two weeks.

 

 

8 Comments

  1. My mother and I went to Rebecca’s wanting to give support and enjoy some soul food. I will never visit this place again. Our chicken was delivered bubbling blood and when we sent it back they recooked the same chicken. When I asked about a discount for the bloody chicken the waitress AND manager were very rude. They have a rule that if they make a mistake and fix it they shouldn’t give a discount. Very disappointed.

  2. Very very poor customer service! We should have seen the signs of the service and food she there were only 4 customers including me and my guest. Also everyone who parked there went to Cheddars. Don’t waste your time or money.

  3. Such an inviting environment and the food is great , some of the best Southern styled food I’ve had down here . I will definitely re visit & promote it .

  4. This evening I thought my Mother and I would try something new so I saw a new restaurant next to cheddar’s and decided to get something to go. I got chicken and waffles. First off the place was empty there was no one around but the staff and a touch of people on one side of the business; anyway we paid for our very overpriced meal again I say we paid for our very OVER PRICED meals and set off for home. {like 18 for just one entire that was just chicken really ?] The chicken has no taste the waffle was ice cold thick as a brick and I was given only one package of syrup for something larger than a steering wheel. The macaroni and cheese was ok that would be the only decent thing I did enjoy. Please whoever is reading this do NOT eat here or waste your money and time.

  5. I was told about this place from a customer at my job. I decided to take my mom because she loves soul food. The service was nice… in the beginning. We both ordered mac & cheese as one of our sides so when it came out with the rest of our food, we tasted it and it was not good! It was practically just macaroni and no cheese. We asked the waiter if we could swap them out for cabbage and his reply was, “let me get my manager.” Well, the dining manager came over, introduced herself, and told us she would have to show the mac & cheese to the kitchen chefs as they would be the ones to decided whether or not we could have cabbage instead. She comes back about 5 min later to tell us that she cannot swap out the mac & cheese because the chefs said, “it was cooked according to Rebecca’s recipe.” My mom then asked if we could speak with the general manager. The dining manager left and came back with two business cards with the general manager’s name, Eartha Colier. I think asked the dining manager, “Is Eartha here tonight” and she said “no” but I knew AND her husband Cedric were there because I saw them both. Plus, her husband spoke to my mom and me. Our waiter came back to see if we were able to get the issue resolved and we told him no. He said, “that’s messed up”. I then asked him if Eartha was there and he said that she was but she just didn’t want to come out and deal with the situation. My mom and I were utterly disappointed and upset that we were lied to and given horrible customer service. We will not be back.

  6. This place was so terrible, the service and food sucked. I thought maybe its just a slow day but no when I looked over at cheddar’s there parking lot was pretty full. I’ll never enter this place again save you money folks.

  7. This was a horrible experience! Waited over 15 mins for our drinks, waited over an hour for our food. Food came and cabbage was very cold and not seasoned, macaroni and cheese was HORRIBLE with just cheese and on the top and we were never offered refills. Waitress was not pleasant and instead of fixing our order they just took the cold cabbage off of our tab which left us hungry. NEVER EAT HERE IF YOURE HUNGRY

  8. I have eaten at Rebecca’s several times and have had good food and service each time. I recommend them whenever I can.


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