By Lena Hensley
The Eatonton Messenger
January 25, 2018

Even on a rainy day, the parking lot is packed with cars. Whether rain or shine, hot or cold, Ms. Stella’s management and staff are always hospita­ble, catering to soul food lovers and ready to feed you a delicious, affordable meal like their motto says, “Great food with affordable prices.”

“Food here is fabulous,” said Teri Davis, a customer.

“This was our first time here,” added her husband, Bernie Davis. “I had smoked ribs, collard greens and fried okra. The food was very good. We will definitely come back.”

“People come here for their favorites, whether it’s liver, baked turkey wings, smoked ribs, hamburger steak or fried fish,” said Jeri Trawick, one of the restaurant owners. “But our busiest day is Friday when we serve chitterlings. People love our chitter­lings.”

Outside view of Ms. Stella’s restaurant. A crowded parking lot shows the popularity of the new restaurant, Ms. Stella’s.

Located at 103 Hogan Industrial Blvd., Eatonton, not far from the Putnam Christian Outreach, Ms. Stella’s restaurant is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. It serves lunch and dinner (same price). The menu of the restaurant changes every day. For the price ranging from $5.93 to $8.63, you may get a meal with two sides, fried cornbread or a roll. Desserts and drinks are a separate price. This restaurant is an alco­hol-free environment. Ms. Stella’s caters to dine in and carry out customers.

“Soul food is cooking with love. You put your heart into it,” said Jeri Trawick, whose favorite things to cook include desserts such as banana pudding and sweet potato dumplings.

The restaurant got its name in honor of Ms. Estella Cartwright (or “Ms. Stella” as she was affectionately called), the grandmother of one of its owners, Lucious Trawick.

Jeri and Lucious Trawick, restaurant owners and skilled cooks (and a portrait of Ms. Stella on the background)

“She was a community icon,” he recalled, “she fed people [as far as] two blocks away.”

According to him, their house was always full of people. Nobody was ever refused and everyone got a friendly welcome. Inspired by her example, Trawick and his wife, Jeri, opened Ms. Stella’s restaurant at 960 N. Wilkinson St., Milledgeville in September 2012. Later, in October 2017, they opened another restaurant with the same name in Eatonton. Two of them and Lucious’ cousin, Louise, are the skilled cooks.

Prior to opening a restaurant, Lucious had many jobs. He worked at Lawrence Flower Shop; he was a correctional officer, a police officer and a shift supervisor in the Forensics building at Central State Hospital in Milledgeville. That’s where he met Jeri, who worked in Human Resources. Before stepping out on faith and opening his own business, he worked with Amos Harper at The Real Deal Grill in Milledgeville. The Trawicks have four children and, although each of them is choosing a different path in life, they all help at the restaurant.

For information about a specific menu item, directions or to order food to go, call the restaurant at 706-473-3999.