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“We're family here...”

  • Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Jim Tatum/Journal Scene Robyn Lyons banters with customers Sadie Brewster, Miles Smoak, Bobby Smoak, and Audrey Smoak.

Eating at Eva’s

Eva’s Restaurant129 S. Main St. Summerville, SC7 a.m. - 3 p.m. M-F

Photos

There is a reason that Eva’s restaurant is about to celebrate 70 years in business.

“Start with good help and you’ll always have a good business,” longtime customer Charlie Hall said.

Underpinning the whole Eva’s experience is the idea of family. Treating each other like family and treating customers like family is the most important aspect, something upon which late owner Eva Hinson insisted.

For the staff, that golden rule extends to everyone, customers and staff alike.

Cooks Loquine “Beanie” Hunt, Patricia Hunt and Sarah Williams, have been working at Eva’s for more than three decades. The Hunts are sisters; they started working when their mother was still working in the kitchen. They say they enjoy being there, the hours are good, and everyone works well together.

Williams has been there even longer and has had family working beside her in the kitchen throughout the years as well.

“Working conditions have been good,” she said. “We’ll see how things go with the new management.”

All three say they enjoy working at the restaurant; all agree that the family atmosphere is an important ingredient in the Eva’s experience for both customers and staff.

“Miss Eva was a nice lady – but she told you what she expected,” Beanie Hunt said. “She always told us she wanted us to please her customers. The main thing was to take care of them; they’re family.”

And that is how it has been over the years. The cooks are as well known to the customers as the customers are to them. They know what the regulars want; they are getting it ready even as the customers walk in the door.

Just as important, the family feeling seems to be strong with all the staff. Everyone works well together; everyone cares about each other, they said.

“It’s nice to be able to come to work to a job you enjoy,” Robyn Lyons, who with sister Debra Lyons and cousin Ruth Ann Sweat, has worked at Eva’s for more than ten years.

“I think that’s a lot of what keeps people coming back,” Debra Lyons said. “I think we try to make them feel like family the first time they’re in here.”

Ruth Ann Sweat said she was very touched – and more than a little astonished – when people from the restaurant, customers and staff alike, showed so much support for her when she lost her son. People she barely knew showed up at the funeral, brought food by the house, stopped to talk or give a sympathetic word.

“It’s family – it sounds corny but it’s true,” she said.

“It’s love,” Robyn said. “What we give our customers we get back tenfold.”

Robyn’s daughter, Morgan Dilks recently started working at Eva’s.

“I love it – this is so different from any place I’ve worked,” she said. “There’s no politics here – I don’t have to say certain things or be a certain way. I don’t feel like a robot here.”

One point Dilks has noticed is that she has made the same mistakes everyone else has – and occasionally does -- with no ill effects. Customers and staff alike are patient, good-humored, and forgiving.

That, too often, is simply not the case elsewhere, she added.

“Now that’s family,” Dilks said.

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