When she first decided to open her own restaurant in the little space at Central and Volutsia, Celese Ponder didn’t know that a fancy new shipping container mall was planned for right across the street.
That’s just a happy coincidence, she said.
But when Revolutsia — a new development full of restaurants and shops — opens soon at the southwest corner of Central and Volutsia, Ponder is hoping that people headed there will also notice her new comfort food restaurant, Fyre, on the northwest corner.
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Ponder, a single mother of three, opened the restaurant part time this spring at 2724 E. Central. Not long ago, she was able to start full-time hours.
Her menu includes down-home dishes like fried catfish, fried chicken, chicken fingers, okra, seasoned fries, greens and mac and cheese. Every day, she serves a different special, rotating dishes like chicken-fried chicken, meatloaf, chicken etouffee and jambalaya. She also sometimes serves oxtails.
“I’ve always been a cook,” she said. “I’ve loved cooking all my life, and since I’ve been a young adult, I’ve always wanted to open a restaurant.”
Fyre’s hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 7 p.m. Sundays. It’s closed on Mondays.
The building used to house a business called Bargain Hunters, but before that, it had been a restaurant, so the space already had a hood. Ponder said she worked on the building for about a year.
There’s another big section of the building that Ponder hasn’t opened yet but hopes to soon; it will offer open mic events and children’s talent shows.
Her three children, ages 13, 15 and 18, help her in the restaurant.
Fyre is doing well so far, Ponder said, especially considering she hasn’t advertised it at all.
“We’re just climbing and climbing,” she said. “I get new customers every day. There’s a lot of good word-of-mouth.”
Want to try Fyre’s wings? She’ll be one of the vendors at Saturday’s Wingapalooza chicken wing-eating event at Intrust Bank Arena.