SINCE 1990, Ma Harper and N’Awlins Creole Kitchen have been a staple of the San Antonio restaurant scene. Serving family-style Creole food straight from a New Orleans native, the restaurant has become a beacon for foodies everywhere in and around the San Antonio area. With the exposure the restaurant has received from nationally televised shows, its popularity has only grown over time.
Even if you aren’t from San Antonio, it’s likely you have seen Ma Harper and her restaurant due to the coverage she receives, not only from her quality cooking but also her personality. After all, she is known as the Alamo City Legend in the city of San Antonio. She has been visited by Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs; appeared on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives; and has been featured in dozens of magazine articles and television shows over the years.“Ma” Harper is actually Alice Harper, born in New Orleans. After serving 21 years in the United States Air Force as a civilian pneudraulic systems mechanic, she eventually landed in San Antonio and opened up N’Awlins. During her time working for the Air Force, she worked at Kelly Air Force Base, so the area was relatively known to her. Her cooking skills came largely from her upbringing. The second oldest child in a family of 16, she always had a desire to both feed the hungry and serve the community.
Being religious, she likes to quip that the restaurant actually belongs to God, and she is just helping run it. Her religious background also helps to explain her drive to give back to the community (and give second chances to the people that work in the restaurant). The turnaround from this attitude can be seen firsthand: many of the people that she has given second chances to now own their own businesses and have seen further success in their own lives. All of that good, just because someone gave them a second chance.
Not only does she receive support from the community of San Antonio but also from other businesses in the area. One of those businesses is Commercial Kitchen Parts & Service. As their own way of giving a little something back, Commercial Kitchen services the equipment of the restaurant at no charge and has provided commercial refrigeration equipment “on the house” as well.
Perhaps one of the most interesting things about Ma Harper is her way of giving back. As mentioned previously, she hires people down on their luck—even if they have a checkered past—to work in the restaurant and give them a second chance. In fact, five of the people currently working at N’Awlins are “second chances” employees. She doesn’t ask for anything in return for this, but it has come back to her in many ways. Remember when Mike Rowe visited the shop? That was after speaking with a number of employees Ma Harper had hired out of jail. Rowe installed a new dishwasher and donated $20,000 to her business along with new dishes and silverware.
She also gives back to the community in other ways. One time, she hosted a Mother’s Day celebration at the restaurant to a packed house and charged her customers nothing, only requesting a donation to a local women’s shelter. Over the years, she has received numerous awards including the Golden Plate Award and the Blue Plate Award. If you aren’t sold, just do a quick search online and take a look at some of her reviews. Almost all of them are glowing and positive. Even better, stop by and try N’Awlins Creole Kitchen for yourself.
Commercial Kitchen provides high-quality maintenance, repair, and installation services for kitchen equipment. For more information about Commercial Kitchen and what they can do for you and your business, contact 800-292-2120 or firstname.lastname@example.org.