MONARCH — A restauranteur who first learned to cook as a child and has prepared meals and/or overseen food preparation services in New York and Washington, DC, as well as Union County, is opening her newest restaurant this Thursday.
Willie B’s Country Kitchen will open for business at 3 p.m. Thursday serving an array of what owner Mary Browning calls “country cooked foods. We’ll be serving a variety of meats and vegetables and we’ll be specializing in home cooked desserts.”
The restaurant, which is named for Browning’s late husband, will be open from 3-10 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Browning said customers will be able to order from the menus that will be placed at each table or be served from the dinner bar.
“There will be a waitress at the dinner bar and, for $8, you get two trips to the dinner bar, including dessert and tea,” Browning said Tuesday. “At the dinners we’ll be serving barbecue ribs, steaks, fried and baked chicken, pork chops and more.”
On Saturday, Willie B’s will be open from 6 a.m.-10 p.m. serving breakfast, then short orders and, beginning at 3 p.m., dinner.
“At breakfast we’ll serve country ham, bacon, sausage, biscuits, eggs, and fish and grits,” Browning said. “We’ll have short orders until 3 p.m. when the dinner service begins.”
Browning added that customers will also be able to call in orders to go.
Willie B’s Country Kitchen is located at 814 Monarch Highway, approximately one mile southeast of the old Monarch Mill. It is the latest restaurant Browning has operated there. Her first restaurant at the Monarch location was Mary’s Kitchen and Barbecue. This was followed in turn by Willie B’s Country Breakfast and now Willie B’s Country Kitchen.
In addition to its main dining area, Willie B’s has to additional rooms. The first will be used if additional space is needed during business hours, but is also available for private dining, bridal showers, baby showers, birthday parties, and other activities. The third room can also be made available for special events as well.
Browning began cooking as a child at the insistence of her mother.
“I’ve been cooking all my life,” Browning said. “I started when I was a child. We were a family of nine and my mother insisted that everybody in the house learn to cook and we did and we’ve been cooking ever since. All of my brothers and sisters and I are still cooking today. We all love to cook.”
It was that love of cooking which decided Browning on the career path she would follow.
“I started formally working at The Goods’ restaurant on South Pinckney Street,” Browning said. “I managed The Goods’ Community Center on Foster Street which most people now know as the Old Dinner House.”
In addition to being a cook and a restaurant manager and owner in Union County, Browning has also worked in New York where she said she prepared meals for the president of the New York Central Railroad Company, and in Washington, DC, where she oversaw a People’s Drugstore commissary. In South Carolina, she was a supervisor for food services for the SC Department of Corrections.
Her career path, however, returned her to Union County, and as she prepares to open her newest restaurant, Browning says she will continue to provide the kind of quality service people have come to expect from her.
“We have a good, clean safe environment for the family,” Browning said. “I think people will be pleased when they come out.”
For more information about Willie B’s Country Kitchen and order to order call 864-427-0630.