CALDWELL, TX — Last month, 25 News reported on a Somerville mom battling multiple hardships, including the loss of her business.
February was trying for the Jackson family. Andrea Jackson had taken in her four newly orphaned nieces and nephews after three of her relatives had died following complications with COVID-19. In addition to dealing with loss, Andrea's new venture, a soul food restaurant in Caldwell called ‘Drea’s Kitchen,’ shut down when a business partnership ended.
But today, anyone stopping by the Ebony Essence School of Hair Design on Highway 21 in Caldwell, can catch a whiff of the cornbread and greens coming from Andrea’s stove.
“I actually wanted to let her do her dream here, Drea’s Kitchen,” said Cassandra Wilson, owner of Ebony Essence.
Andrea caught a major break when her friend Wilson reached out with a business proposition. The hair design school has a kitchen and dining space attached, originally created as a lunch area for Wilson’s students. Wilson originally made an attempt to make this space a small restaurant, 'Wilson's Bistro and Soul Food,' but she didn’t quite have the resources she needed to make it flourish – she didn’t have Andrea.
"We got connected because originally she had the kitchen, and her kitchen needed a cook," Andrea recalled. "And I needed a kitchen!”
Andrea became co-owner of the restaurant with Wilson. This Tuesday, the merge between Wilson’s Bistro and Drea’s Kitchen launched.
"I'm excited about what God is doing with me and Andrea," Wilson commented tearfully. "And God couldn't have sent me a better cook. I really appreciate her.”
Andrea cooks all the food, while her teen daughter, Alaysia Jackson, handles the register and waitressing duties, in between completing her home school studies. Andrea said, her other children will be helping out on the weekends, and her husband works as a dishwasher behind the scenes. Her menu has remained the same, offering a variety of soul food options
"When they say soul food, I always say food cooked with love to feed the soul," she noted. "It’s just good home cooking made by someone who loves doing it.”
For the past couple of months, the Jackson family had been concerned about how they would be able to pay the bills, taking on four new children to their existing family of four. Now, with the revenue from Drea’s Kitchen, Andrea is confident the family will be able to thrive and even flourish.
“I know it will," she asserted. "It’s going to do what it needs to do, to take care of us and our new addition to the family.”