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Early Birds

Customers crowd in for Becky Spell’s home cooking By Eddie Dees

The eggs start cracking at Becky’s Café every morning before the hens begin pecking down on the farm.

Becky Spell, owner, chief cook and dish washer, is in the kitchen every morning, six days a week, by 3:30 — a time many would consider to still be night — mixing the biscuits for breakfast and preparing for the day’s lunch special.

Her homemade biscuits and daily lunch specials have been well known in the town of Hope Mills for more than 20 years. Some of her customers have grown up eating at Becky’s, and so have Becky’s grandchildren. All three of them, Kayla, Shayna, and B.B. are fixtures at the eating place that only seats 30 people. In fact, they are all employees, serving as waitresses and dishwashers.

There are two other employees, a cook named Bernita, and Martha, a part-time waitress who knows everyone and most everything. You can learn a lot at Becky’s Café.

In Becky’s, construction workers, judges and truck drivers sit elbow-to-elbow with farmers, teachers and the guy who runs the drug store. They all crowd into the café, sometimes twice a day, to eat Becky’s country ham and biscuits or her mouth-watering cheeseburgers. Lunch specials include meatloaf, stew beef and rice, fried pork shops, and flounder.

All the customers come for the good food and the fellowship, but it’s Becky herself that makes it all work. Some of the male regulars refer to her as their “cooking wife.”

At 73-years-old, Becky has been getting up before the chickens for twenty years of cooking, washing dishes and running the cafe, in addition to raising children and helping to raise grandchildren and now great grandchildren – and she says she can’t imagine living any other way.