Feed Your Soul: Restaurant makes strangers feel like family
903 N 4th St, Monroe
MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Once a restaurant shuts its doors, it may be difficult to open them back up. Jo-El’s Restaurant, though, was able to beat the odds and successfully reopen.
The business moved to Monroe off 4th St. and has been able to facilitate the community it has always known.
Customers came in droves when it reopened to support the owners, Kelli Angell and Robyn Walker, who bought the restaurant from the original owner.
Angell said that once everyone found out the original owners didn’t want to stay open, she and her coworkers knew they wanted to stay.
“We had kids,” Angell said. “My kids got out of school. It was like from ten to two, I could go and pick up my kids. It was a great daytime job. And when we realized the owner didn’t want to stay open, we knew that we wanted to stay.”
While Angell and Walker were working at the original location, they became close friends.
“I have a best friend that has all these great ideas. And I just I’m a ride-or-die person and I’m like, Sure let’s do it! And then I complain the whole time that we’re doing it,” Walker said.
Their joint effort creates amazing food as well, and the fresh ingredients have people coming back. Barry Webb, a regular at the restaurant, comes a few times a week.
“It is good. Bacon, onions, Swiss cheese, Jalapenos, and fries are very good. They’re warm. They have some very good food,” said Webb.
And he is right, the fresh strawberry salad and burgers are a hit. The one menu item that grabbed my attention was the 11 Napkin Roast Beef Po’boy, and it is just that. I made sure to test the 11 napkin claim, and they were right, but I was glad to be able to get that opportunity. The roast beef is amazing and tender, and the sandwich itself is huge and messy.
Food is only a part of the reason people return. This place has an atmosphere that makes a person feel a part of something more.
“This community is nothing like you’d ever seen. I was pregnant with my son after she owned it and they bought me baby shower presents,” Walker stressed. “They’ve seen my children grow up. When my husband passed away, the community came together and helped pay for my husband’s funeral. The customers are not just our customers or our family.“
The feeling of family and helping each other has been a part of the restaurant for a while. Angell and Walker even host a Thanksgiving meal to feed those that might need a good hot meal.
“Angell’s motto is ‘No one will leave hungry’, whether you come in and eat or we bring it to you and eat,” Walker says. “We also want to start a program where if you buy it, like a chicken bacon ranch, extra on your ticket, we put it on a bulletin board. If someone comes in and they’re hungry, we already have a chicken bacon ranch paid for and they can have it.”
Head to Jo-El’s Restaurant and grab a filling meal for yourself, and someone else, to feed your soul.
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