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Sunday, Apr 22, 2018
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Steph's Southern Soul Food ready to welcome friends

DADE CITY - Stephanie Reaves is no stranger to the food service business.
Reaves was manager of Buddy Freddy's in Plant City for 24 years. Prior to that, she worked at the Crest Restaurant on Dade City's Main Street, currently the location of Lori Anne's.
Now she is the owner of Steph's Southern Soul Food Restaurant and she cites divine guidance in that entrepreneurial decision.
“The spirit of God opened me up one Sunday morning and told me to come to Pasco County, and I realized that He wanted me to open a restaurant,” said Reaves, manager and co-owner of the business with her husband, Herold.
The Reaveses purchased the building, the former Johnnie's Bar-B-Q location at 14519 5th St., and went to work. Getting the restaurant open was a challenge. There were code issues to correct and, she chuckled, “end of funds” challenges.
The restaurant opened in March.
“We're looking forward to sharing our food with Dade City. I am already enjoying seeing regulars from the Crest days and catching up with their families. It brings back lots of memories,” Stephanie said. “Seeing old friends and making new ones that enjoy my cooking … it is what it is … good.”
She said they have had a good response from the public. “The business is increasing every day,” she said.
Some customers like it so well that they told her that they wanted to keep the restaurant to themselves and not share it with people outside Dade City.
“You better pay my rent then,” she tells them.
The restaurant is a three-person operation run by Reaves, her husband and her goddaughter, Monique Screen.
“I'm the food and she's [Screen] administration, and my husband makes it all click together,” Reaves said. “He keeps it clean; he's the maintenance man; he does all the hiring, that sort of thing.”
The food is southern soul food just like it says in the name, Reaves said. She lists the specialties as fried chicken, sweet potato soufflé, macaroni and cheese, fresh collard greens and fresh fish.
“Oh, you gotta have peach cobbler,” she adds. “That's what everybody says.” They also have a selection of cream pies, red velvet cake and sweet potato pie for dessert.
Their new restaurant is reminiscent of the old cafeteria style, where diners get their trays and slide them down the line to make their selections. The restaurant is open seven days a week, serving breakfast from 7 to 10:30 a.m. daily. Monday through Thursday restaurant hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; on Friday and Saturday they close at 8 p.m. Sunday's hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For information about Steph's Southern Soul Restaurant, call (352) 437-5907.
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