Leslie Lazenby and Michelle Mock are embarking on a business venture that’s been a lifelong dream – and they say all the credit goes to God.
The women, who have been best friends for about 10 years, have collaborated on catering ventures for weddings, FFA events and Madisonville High School’s Project Graduation steak dinner. But Mock, who previously worked in the oil industry, said she’s always felt a calling to open her own restaurant, and things started coming together in November. Naturally she called on her friend Lazenby for assistance.
The pair is leasing a former post office building at 12103 Texas 21 in Midway, and opened Momma’s Café for business on Jan. 5.
The menu changes daily, and specialties include things like sweet potatoes, baked potatoes, pulled pork, fresh salmon patties, a salad bar stocked with veggies grown by local farmers, quiche and chicken pot pie.
“I really like trying different things,” Mock said. “I don’t know where else you can get a stuffed bell pepper. These are things your mom would make for Sunday dinner.”
Lazenby, who will continue working as a program assistant for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, is in charge of desserts and clerical work at Momma’s and says she loves “cooking and serving people.”
“We’re moms,” she said. “We naturally take care of people. We’re moms first, and we’re trying to be thrifty. I bought a case of carrots and said, ‘I don’t know how you’re going to use them, but I got a good deal.’”
Mock ended up roasting the carrots and said she can put just about anything to good use.
Lazenby’s “mason jar mud,” a brownie truffle dessert, is already a local favorite.
The ladies emphasize that they’re not competing with any of the other local restaurants – and in fact they plan to continue patronizing local favorites like Fraley’s and Walker’s Café.
“A lot of people have asked if we’re going to do hamburgers and fries, or chicken fried steak,” Lazenby said. “Why would we do that when there’s other good places that already have that?”
The duo does plan to incorporate crawfish to the menu when it’s in season, from the end of January through June, and will add outdoor seating and live music.
“We prayed that God would send the right amount of people so that we could handle it,” Mock said as she prepared for the dinner crowd on their opening day. “This has been the perfect day.”
The restaurateur got a little choked up as she noted that she’s “had this dream forever.”
“God did it,” she said. “This is the greatest blessing ever.”
That blessing is perhaps compounded by the blessings of friendship and family.
“She laid a fleece before the Lord for the building,” Lazenby said. “Everything she asked for, He gave. We felt like this was our answer.”
Momma’s Café is open Thursdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Take-out orders are available, and the restaurant can be reached at (936) 348-2577 or firstname.lastname@example.org.