LUMBERTON — It may be in a smaller building, but the newly opened Candy Sue’s Cafe has the same popular chicken salad, Boston butts and is now in the breakfast business.
Owner Susan Walker moved her downtown business to 1810 N. Pine St. and the new location opened for business on late in October.
The downtown location had a bar, was open for lunch and dinner and had Walker and her staff working very long days — from about 8 a.m. until midnight or later.
“We got to the point where we had to decide if we were going to be in the restaurant business or if we were going to be in the bar business,” Walker said. “We chose the restaurant business. It was always my dream. It’s what I love doing.”
She also wanted a smaller space to maintain, which is what she got at the current location. The cafe is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Mondays through Fridays, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and for breakfast and lunch on Saturdays from 7 a.m. until noon. Lunch specials are $6.50 and include a meat, two vegetables, and bread.
Walker says her signature menu item is Boston butt.
“It’s sort of like a long process of cooking it. It starts one day and finishes the next day,” Walker said.
Candy Sue’s chicken salad also has fans. In fact, the day Candy Sue’s reopened, Walker sold 40 pounds of chicken salad within just a few hours. With the addition of breakfast, which offers the usual grits, eggs, bacon, sausage, there is a new menu item — French toast stuffed with cream cheese, topped with fresh strawberries and toasted almonds.
The other benefit to the new location is that it feels like home to Walker. She started on Pine Street when she entered the restaurant business in 1999. The name Candy Sue’s comes from her former business partner, whose first name was Candy and Sue being short for Susan. After she bought out her business partner, she kept the name.
Walker is also glad to have more time to devote to her catering business.
“That’s the one reason I started it,” Walker said. “The thing about catering is you know when you’re preparing food that’s going to be for 25, you know that’s how many will be there.”
Walker said it takes a passion for people and food to succeed in the restaurant business. It’s something she has always loved.
“It’a not something you’re going to get rich doing — probably,” Walker said.
Marsha Britt, who has worked for Walker for about 18 months, likes the new hours and the new location. Britt said customers come back for the fresh food and the relaxed environment.
“The customers like the atmosphere. Everybody knows everybody. Everybody’s comfortable here,” Britt said.
There are customers who like to come in and talk about the weather, politics and whatever happens to be the day’s headline.
Mayor Bruce Davis was among customers at the cafe on Tuesday night.
“I have followed them wherever they go and I eat whatever they serve. It’s been a fun time,” Davis said. “She has a great restaurant. She has a great reputation. She has worked hard. Her family has worked hard and I wish them the very best.”
The opening of the new cafe was delayed a couple of weeks because flooding from Hurricane Matthew overtook the much of Lumberton the day before it was set to open. The shelves and fridge were stocked but the restaurants lost power. Thanks to friends, Walker was able to get generators going so she was able to save the food but not sell it. She and her staff cooked for people who by that time were in shelters or at home with no power and no way to cook.
Take out orders are available by calling 910-739-8430. For information, find Candy Sue’s Cafe on Facebook.
Reach Terri Ferguson Smith at 910-416-5865.