If you’re planning to visit the Broadway Market this Easter season, or anytime, go hungry. Margie Hawkins will be more than happy to feed you with massive portions at her year-round stand, Margie's Soul Food. While fried chicken and pork chops are tasty, you’ll also have the chance to try unusual, hard to find dishes like pigs feet or oxtail.
You’ll often find four generations helping behind the counter at Margie's. With annual Easter crowds now visiting the market, Margie is even busier than usual. Besides her regular, loyal customers, newcomers are having a taste of her cooking and she says they’re never disappointed.
After making four big pans of her popular macaroni and cheese, Margie took time to talk to me about her home cooked specialties.
Question: Why do people come to Margie's?
Margie: To taste the food! Where do I begin? My peach cobbler, my greens, yams, black eyed peas, pretty much everything on the table goes. The meat – baked chicken, fried chicken, ribs, smothered pork chops, oxtails and my meatloaf. A lot of people come for breakfast with home fries and grits and then for dinner every day.
Q: A lot of people are buying fried chicken for lunch. What’s your secret?
A: The seasoning - they say the chicken tastes better than Kentucky Fried Chicken. Fried chicken is a sellout. We go through case of wings a day, a case of chicken a day.
Q: Is fried chicken your most popular item?
A: No. I tell you all of my food is popular. I just can’t say just one thing. I can’t say that because I run out of stuff and have to keep cooking stuff so it don’t sit around. People are constantly buying it.
Q: Do a lot of people come in for unusual items like pigs feet or oxtail?
A: Oh yeah. With oxtails, it’s how you cook it and I put a whole lot, not a little, but a whole big, deep pan on the table. I put it out at lunch time then people tell other people and here come the crowds.
Q: How do you make the peach cobbler?
A: Peach cobbler – it’s my own recipe. It’s a dessert. You serve it in a cup. It’s just something I know how to do. I do sweet potato cobbler, blackberry cobbler. I also do pies, and banana pudding - you got the regular banana pudding and you got the Shamrock banana pudding with cherries in it, too.
Q: Do you see the crowds picking up at the market?
A: Oh honey, yes we do. We’re constantly going. I made four pans of macaroni and cheese and I had to make four more and it’s only 1:30. Macaroni and cheese don’t stay on the table. They want it all. Lately now I see more and more faces that I haven’t seen before.
Q: Have you been cooking your whole life?
A: We all started out as kids cooking so it runs in the family. Everyone has their own way of cooking so I wanted to do something with my cooking.
Q: Do you have secret recipes?
A: I can’t share those, can’t share those.
Q: How does it feel when people taste your food?
A: I hear people come back after they eat and say, “The food was excellent.” And that makes me feel good. It makes me feel real good. And usually they’ll come back. And then I know I’m doing something right.
INFO: Margie’s Soul Food, 999 Broadway (inside the Broadway Market); 322-1748. Hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., seven days a week. The market usually closes on Sundays after the Easter season.