GOLIAD – Just off the beaten path known as Highway 183 is a silver food trailer parked beneath an old oak tree.
Inside are a grandmother, Deborah Mead, and her daughter, Valerie Litwornia. They are the cooks behind Deborah’s Kitchen Table.
Life has changed the habits of people as they stay home and out of crowds — an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“We are normally take-out anyway,” said Jerry Mead, the husband of Deborah, the namesake and owner of the food trailer.
Deborah’s Kitchen Table has expanded in these past weeks as she now includes Saturday to their normal Monday through Friday lunch-time schedule.
“We offer things you cannot get somewhere else,” Jerry said as he motioned to the menu on the side of the food tailer.
Lifetime in kitchen
Deborah has been cooking for 47 years, since she was 13 years old.
Previously, she was day shift manager at the Pump House in Victoria — an upscale restaurant along the Guadalupe River in Victoria.
“I was driving back and forth to Victoria everyday,” the Goliad resident said. “I got tired of the driving and working for everybody else.
“I wanted to do something for myself.”
So, when a good deal on a fully equipped food trailer in Austin came up, she decided it was time to cook up a new adventure.
She keeps a regular menu, but adds daily lunch specials.
“I am always open to ideas and suggestions,” she said.
Being only open for lunch is something they are considering changing, but it would mean hiring more staff.
“Being small, we only have one paid employee,” Deborah said. “We are not trying to make a fortune.”
There is another reason she is hesitant to expand her hours.
“Just being open at lunch, when the grandkids have something going on, I can still see them,” she said. “We have thought about it, though.”
Her husband offers a bit of caution.
“It is not going to be run the way you want it run unless you are here.”
The extra work doesn’t bother Deborah. She is used to 13-hour days without a break.
“I think there are a lot of people that get off work, and they have to go home, and their kids are in 4-H or whatever, and they have to still put food on the table,” Jerry said offering his encouragement for the expanded hours.
Deborah chimes in, “It never bothered me.”
“You are the exception,” Jerry quickly agrees.
Deborah’s career in the restaurant industry began as a teen when she started working for her parents in Calallen at their restaurant, Riverside Inn. That is also how she met her future husband.
At the time, Jerry was a state trooper stationed in Calallen.
“I used to go in there and eat the food and flirt with the waitresses,” he said.
Deborah, at the time, was in not only the kitchen, but also the front of the house as the head waitress.
“I struck it rich,” he said looking over at his wife.
The couple would later move to Goliad because “we wanted to raise our children in a small town,” she said.
Jerry retired in 2001 and, having worked a few different jobs in the meanwhile, is now the cashier and greeter for those who walk up to place their order.
“I really enjoy talking to people,” he said. “I just have to watch how I talk about politics with people. Not everyone agrees with me.
“But if it is somebody you know, you can have some lively discussions with them.”
Location, location, location
A sign along the highway points the way to their serene spot on North Duval Street behind the lumber yard.
They have a few picnic tables out back for those wanting to sit and stay a spell.
“This is the favorite because of the shade tree,” said Jerry motioning behind him.
Despite their location, a bit off the highway and a little hard to see driving by, she hopes soon the city will concede and rezone their property on Highway 183.
“We are hopeful,” Jerry said. “Optimistic.”
Jason Collins is the editor at the Goliad Advance-Guard and can be reached at 361-343-5221, or at editor@mySouTex.com.