For Eclectic resident Jasmine Williams, owning a restaurant was a dream born out of days spent in the kitchen cooking with her grandmother.
"All I've ever known is cooking and baking," she said. "My grandmother is the main reason I love to cook. She was a dietician at a nursing home for about 45 years and growing up our house was the go-to house for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Cooking brings me joy. It's my happy place."
Williams' 91-year-old grandmother, Mary Pressley, now lives with her and is still known to cook a good Sunday dinner from time to time.
After years of dreaming about owning a restaurant, Williams is finally making it a reality. Down Home Bar and Grill is set to open this month in downtown Eclectic at 65 Main Street. Williams doesn't have an opening date pinned down yet, but she's aiming for mid-April.
The dining area of the restaurant is complete with 11 tables, a kitchen counter and countertop made out of refurbished wood pallets by Williams and restaurant kitchen manager Jamie Swiney. It took about a month for the pair to complete the project.
"Jamie even built me my very own step stool since I'm short and the counter is kind of tall," Williams said.
The main area left to complete is the kitchen. Williams said the restaurant's menu will include items like Philly cheesesteaks, wings, burgers, beer and wine. The Eclectic Town Council approved a liquor license to Williams at its March meeting. The restaurant will eventually offer breakfast, but for the time being, it will serve lunch and dinner.
"I'm trying to pace myself," Williams said. "I'm going to build up to offering breakfast and eventually meat and three options on Sundays."
Williams said she took a leap of faith when she decided to move forward with her dream of owning a restaurant.
"My family knows that this has always been my dream," she said. "My kids Macari and Makenzie kept pushing me to follow my dreams and they've been my biggest source of inspiration."
When she first began searching for a suitable space, she became discouraged because she wasn't finding what she was looking for.
"I like the small-town feel where everybody knows everybody," she said. "I want the regulars who come in everyday and orders the same thing. That's what I like."
Williams directly contacted the owner of the Main Street location to inquire about renting the space.
"This location used to be a restaurant and everyone in town already knows where it is," she said. "It's in a great location. A few years ago, I looked into renting this building but it didn't work out, until now."
Williams has hired five people to work in the restaurant and expects to hire a few more people as the business opens and grows.
"I will be doing a lot of the cooking, but I will also have other people in the kitchen as well," she said. "I will work in whatever role and do whatever it takes for this to be successful and to make people happy."
She has years of experience in the restaurant business having worked as a waitress, hostess and as a salad prep. The restaurant will be open Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
To keep up with Williams' progress, 'like' the Down Home Bar and Grill Facebook page.