Over the years, 622 Eugenia St. has been home to a barbershop, hair salon and restaurant and has seen the developmental changes that Eugenia Street near Florida A&M University’s campus has gone through.
Through the construction of two off-campus student housing facilities, Hillside Apartments and Rattler Pointe, a neighboring church and the constant expansion of the university, Manna house has remained.
But two months ago, flaunting a fresh coat of olive green paint, The Manna House opened it’s doors.
“Wipe your paws,” says the mat that welcomes customers. The interior is reminiscent of a grandmother’s kitchen with painted mauve walls full of nostalgic smells of good food cooking.
And that’s how Marie and Kenneth Bryant like it.
The husband-and-wife team pride themselves on serving “authentic and traditional” soul food for reasonable prices. Also the owners of the Noah Ark Christian Academy on South Monroe Street, they have been making it, despite the nation’s sketchy economy.
“You can definitely feel the effects of the economic crisis,” said Mrs. Bryant. “Most black businesses don’t start businesses with loans, but debt. We invested everything to get this business off the ground.”
The Tallahassee natives were able to secure donated chairs and tables, which lowered start-up costs to $7000, but they still started with debt.
“It seemed like it was average not slow, people just needed to get a chance to know who we were,” said Mrs. Bryant.
And they have.
“We’ve reached out to workers at FAMU, the surrounding community, and my sister-in-law’s co-workers from the state has increased traffic,” she said.
Kenneth Bryant, who also serves as the pastor of Heaven Sent Church of God and Christ on Adams Street, believe the Manna House is another way to serve the community.
“We are like shepherds in the fields and we work through the church not for the church,” he said.
“Some of our customers, mostly students, can start a tab with us or give us what you have if you can’t afford the entire meal at all,” said Mrs. Bryant.
Mrs. Bryant, who has over 25 years of cooking experience, says she does not believe in putting a price on a person’s dreams.
“We haven’t established any set prices yet, because we still want people to get a feel for who we are and what we have.”
Though the south side of Tallahassee has established restaurants, they believe they bring a certain “freshness” to the scene.
“I think with a lot of local restaurants, there is a lack of fresh food and customer service,” said Mrs. Bryant. “But that will be the cornerstone of our restaurant.”
The Bryants have been married for 22 years and have five children together.
“We’ve had our ups and downs, but we have always had each other,” said Mrs. Bryant.
They turn to their faith and know that God will provide for The Manna House.