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The Taste of Love

The Reeves Family at their new restaurant, Farmstead

Jake Reeves grabs a tray and holds it out just moments before his mother slides the plates onto it, barely looking. She knows her son won’t let them fall. Her husband Paul mans the register, passing out change and wishing customers a good day with a smile. Her other son, Josh, is loading up plates with the steaming food and passing it to his mother.
Despite the fact they have been open for only a couple of months, there is a complete absence of chaos at the new Farmstead Restaurant, located on McCrary Road. Just observing, one can tell that this is a team that works together and trusts each other.
This is a very close-knit family. “The boys,” as Sandra lovingly refers to her sons, Josh and Jake, who are 26 and 21, help out at their parent’s restaurant regularly. Jake’s business, Relentless Grappling and MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) Gym is just a few doors down from the restaurant. But when not working there, he can often be found in the friendly red Farmstead shirt, waiting tables or filling in as needed. “It’s so nice to just be able to walk down to see him,” said Sandra. Her elder son, Josh is also nearby. When not attending the Culinary Arts Institute at Mississippi University for Women, he does everything from dishes to desserts at the increasingly popular eatery.
While some families couldn’t stand working together every day, Sandra says she loves having her whole family around. “We’re very close,” she said.
Sandra and Paul raised their sons on a dairy farm in Sulligent, Ala., where she homeschooled them. They moved to Columbus eight years ago, though Sandra said they always considered themselves Columbus people.
“I homeschooled my children for several years, then we sent them to school and did Reeves Vending. After we sold it, we started doing real estate. Jake actually works on some of the rental property for us,” she said.
Sandra also worked as a nurse and holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Alabama. The family has also owned a sporting goods company.
“When this came open, we just thought ‘Why not?’” she said. “My husband’s mother was in the restaurant business a long time ago. I’ve never worked in a restaurant, but I do tasting and tell them what I think.”
When choosing the name Farmstead, Sandra said she wanted the place to feel like home… which for them was on the farm. “Paul is definitely a farm boy. He got up every morning to go milk cows. And my boys grew up on that farm playing on hay bales. My family were gardeners, we grew everything we ate, canned all summer and ate what we canned all winter. It just fit to me to name it Farmstead. It felt like home.”
Adding to the homey atmosphere, the Reeves have decorated the walls with old black and white photographs of their family and ancestors dating back nearly to Civil War times. “It’s who we are and what we wanted to do here,” said Sandra. Jake has been known to entertain guests by introducing the people in the photos and telling them their stories. “We wanted to show our family and family history,” said Sandra. “Some are even originals, including the frames that we just hung up.”
In addition to the wall décor, the family worked together to outfit the rest of the restaurant as well. Jake and Paul made tin bucket lights and bucket chandeliers that hang throughout the restaurant, and Paul’s brother built the pay counter, which is made from a cross-section of tree with the bark still intact.
The Reeves aren’t able to manage all the duties of running the large restaurant by themselves though. “We have an absolutely wonderful team here,” said Sandra. The team includes cooks Lena Hairston, who worked for 26 years in the restaurant when it was Country Kitchen; Annie Johnson, who also worked for the original Country Kitchen years ago; and Denise Kemp, who was a registered nurse and has a degree from the prestigious Culinard Institute in Birmingham. “I couldn’t ask for better cooks back there,” said Sandra.
The menu consists mostly of good old fashioned country comfort food. Fried chicken, roast beef, creamed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, corn bread, chicken and rice, hamburger steak with vegetables and mac and cheese are staples for the lunch menu. “When they taste our food, they love it,” said Sandra. The dessert selection alone is enough to bring in customers according to the family. “Bread pudding, Italian cream cake, Mississippi mud pie, lemon parade, and chocolate surprise are favorites. “Some people just come in to pick up desserts and go.”
“The bread pudding is the best anywhere. It’s just good,” she said. “It’s made with sweet condensed milk, butter and pecans. We get complaints when we don’t have it.”
Farmstead is open Monday –Friday from 6 a.m. – 2 p.m. and on Sundays from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at 142 McCrary Road in East Columbus. Daily menus can be found on their Facebook page, and they can be contacted at 662-240-8860.

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