Retired educator Marsha Bordeaux Corbett said she never intended to own a restaurant. But when Ms. Pat’s Wings, one of her favorite neighborhood restaurants, closed, she felt compelled to continue serving the community.
“I used to pick up lunch and dinner several times a week, especially when I was busy caring for my father,” she said. “I guess I just felt that I needed to try to keep serving the neighborhood.”
Corbett and her brother William Bordeaux opened Nippy’s Soul Food Restaurant last November at the corner of 17th and Queen streets, just two blocks from where they grew up, and named the restaurant in honor of their mother, who was known as “Miss Nippy.”
The siblings say their soul food menu is made up of family recipes that they enjoyed throughout their childhood. One of the most popular dishes, fish and grits, is served all day, every day, and prepared with fresh Virginia mullet.
Nippy’s serves traditional breakfast offerings such as eggs, bacon, sausage and liver pudding beginning each morning at 7 a.m. Lunch and dinner features ox tails, turkey wings, salmon patties and pork chops, with sides such as fresh collard greens, homemade potato salad and cornbread. The special board highlights the rotating selection of daily specials, sides and homemade desserts.
The family-run restaurant offers full table service as well as carry-out, which currently makes up about 70% of the business, according to the owners. The 103-seat dining room is available for large group gatherings such as meetings, showers and parties, and they hope to add outdoor seating shortly.
Marsha Bordeaux Corbett, who still works part time at Rachel Freeman School of Engineering, said she didn’t realize how time consuming running a restaurant would be, but the restaurant has allowed her to reconnect with many of the people she grew up with.
“It’s amazing how many people have come through the door that we were raised with and haven’t seen in years,” she said.
She said that while business was slow going last November and December, it has increased steadily since the start of the new year.
She still hopes to increase Nippy’s breakfast business, but overall she is happy with the growing number of customers Nippy's is serving.
Nippy’s Soul Food Restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. A parking lot located behind the building is accessible from both 17th and Queen streets.
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