By Ernest Lowery
Special to the Guide
It was a Tuesday afternoon when I encountered my first experience with the Blackeyed Peas Restaurant in the Lynnhaven area, near the movie theater and Dillards. The owner is Cynthia Terry, and she describes herself as a solo entrepreneur, which she has been for the past 10 years.
Around the first six months this year, she and her brother, Carlos, teamed up as chefs to open the restaurant at this location, which she discovered at the closing quarter of last year.
Growing up in a family of eight, the siblings understood the value of cooking and its secrets. One, you did not waste any food; and two, blackeyed peas were a tasty staple that Cynthia had prepared many evenings for the family dinner; although at that time she was not always a fan.
The location she occupies now is considered to be one of prime space at the mall. During the negotiations there were many hard decisions that had to be made. As a woman – as a Black woman – it wasn’t easy, she said You know the story … (can you) qualify to our high standards?
During a later moment in the talks, she was notified the real estate taxes were going to be half and separate of the monthly mortgage. This may have proved too much for her and she was preparing to walk away, when, at that moment of soul searching, a guardian angel came into the picture.
Every once in a while, when searching for answers, an African proverb can come in mind … “The Way Out Is To Go Back In.”
Also, one key factor about business is knowing when to ask for help. A timely conversation was about to take place. Cynthia, who is a member of Black Brand, a non-profit organization with a strong entrepreneurship focus, consulted Black Brand trainer Jim Franklin.
She was very familiar with his skills. He is known as a facilitator who helps Black Brand members develop their product pitching and research working skills. All in all, after he spoke with knowledge and authority to the property mangers at the mall … three months later Blackeyed Peas had a home at the Lynnhaven site.
Now, seven months into the business, Cynthia’s dream has come alive. Yes, you have to learn to dot every (i) and cross every (t), and above all, know that God’s got your back.
Cynthia favorite food at Blackeyed Peas is the turkey chop cutlet, which has a unique taste. It’s like having a pork chop and it’s boneless. It tastes like chicken, but it’s turkey, and it really melts in your mouth … very flavorful.
Cynthia also enjoys making the carrot soufflé. It’s made with lots of carrots and has a taste like you are eating yams – instead of carrots – and it’s very light.
At Blackeyed Peas, you can get an array of home cooked meals. They also provide a full scale bar for your taste buds while you dine in.
I decided to try the collard greens, old fashioned meatloaf, “Cynthia’s potato salad.” I must say I really enjoyed the meal … one thing for sure, by the time you read this, I promise you I will have been back. I want to try the turkey chops, vegetables and banana pudding.
Come on out and let your taste buds dance at the Blackeyed Peas. It’s a great investment for you and the family.
And remember Cynthia Terry’s message: “Pursue your dreams; never give up on your purpose in life.”
For more on Blackeyed Peas, soul food and southern cuisine, visit Blackeyepeasvb.com