Ferriday restaurant serves ‘down-home Southern food’

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ferriday — Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t usually take place at a table fashioned out of a door balancing on saw horses, but that is exactly how the Cosper family celebrated this year.

That’s because the turkey dinner had to be squeezed in between hanging wood panels and putting in new flooring at The Country Café, the family’s new restaurant in Ferriday.

The restaurant is owned and operated by Steve and Lou Ann Cosper and their daughter and son-in-law Cortney and John Procell.

“It took us over a year of really hard work to get the doors open,” Cortney Procell said. “The building hadn’t been used in probably 15 years and it was completely empty — just walls and a floor.”

So the family started from scratch to fashion the “comfortable and country” themed atmosphere, Steve Cosper said.

“We did all of this with just us and a few really good friends that were here every day and didn’t get paid a cent,” he said. “All I had to do was feed them.”

The atmosphere matches the “down home, southern food” that is on the daily buffet.

Lou Ann said the idea of owning a restaurant was appealing to her because it allowed the family to be together while creating income and helping to grow Ferriday and surrounding communities.

“I knew if we didn’t come up with something my daughter and her family were going to move anywhere from two to six hours away, because there were not options here for them to work,” Lou Ann said. “I wanted to keep them close and provide something to Ferriday that was desperately needed.”

She said Ferriday lacked a sit down restaurant that served breakfast.

But now, Steve said, that void has been filled. He said at first he wasn’t on board with the restaurant idea.

“We’ve never done anything like this before so I wasn’t sure we knew how to do it,” he said. “We’ve had some problems along the way, but we’ve learned and the community has really accepted us.”

The Country Café opened its doors on March 4 and serves a southern-style breakfast and daily lunch buffet of meats and vegetables along with homemade breads and desserts.

While the family had never operated a restaurant before, they knew they loved to cook. Lou Ann loves to bake breads and sweets and makes all the desserts for the restaurant while Cortney bakes most of the breads served.

“My mom and I are both hostesses at heart,” Cortney said. “We both love to talk to people and to be in the kitchen and that is basically what we get to do here.”

Cortney said though she loves people and cooking, there was no way she was prepared for all the work that goes into operating a restaurant.

“The first week I was overwhelmed,” she said. “I think we all were, just because we had never done this before. But now we know what to expect.”

Steve said they have had bumps along the way, but he said that is to be expected when starting a business from scratch. He said however his approach hasn’t changed.

“We are the restaurant that tries to greet everyone when they walk in,” he said. “People like that attention. They like to know you noticed them.”

Lou Ann said before the restaurant opened she regularly hosted friends and family for dinner, but now making sure the business is running smoothly eats up most of her time.

But now she just thinks of the restaurant diners as her guests.

“I want everyone who leaves my home table to feel satisfied and treated well, and I want everyone who leaves the restaurant to feel the same way,” she said. “If they loved everything, I want them to go and tell all their friends, but if something was wrong I want them to tell me, because that is the only way we can fix it.”

The Country Café is open Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. for breakfast and lunch buffet and from 2 to 9 p.m. Friday for a seafood dinner buffet.

It is located at 1624 E.E. Wallace Blvd. The café can be reached at 318-757-CAFÉ (2233).

Banquet space is available for groups up to 40 people.