“Our customers are like family”: Nana’s Kitchen celebrates 15 years in business

Published 11:58 am Friday, May 10, 2024

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TRYON—Over the years, Nana’s Kitchen, located at 354 S. Trade St., Suite A, has been a favorite place for locals to grab breakfast or lunch in Tryon. It is owned and operated by Melinda Waters, aka Nana, and her daughter Christy Waters. Under their ownership, the restaurant recently celebrated its 15th anniversary.  

They both had worked for the original owner of the space, who had planned to sell it. He gave Christy and Melinda the opportunity to buy it, so they took a chance and bet on themselves. Years later, it continues to pay off. Melinda, who has been a cook her entire career, does the cooking and runs the kitchen, while Christy takes care of the customers and the dining room. 

To say Nana’s Kitchen’s customers are loyal might be an understatement. Over the years, they’ve been there for their customers, and their customers have been there for them. One special customer, Eddie Gilbert, made Nana’s his go-to lunch spot when it was just starting up, often inviting others to join him and helping the community get to know the new restaurant in town. 

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“The repeat customers have become like family,” says Christy. “We wouldn’t be here without them. In the mornings, the first 10 to 15 customers are the same to start the day. We know what many of them want before they even have to order. Your work is like your home away from home, so the customers become family. We can’t thank them enough for all their support over the last 15 years.”

Their customers’ loyalty especially showed during the pandemic, when Melinda and Christy were forced to lay off their staff but kept the operation running independently. 

“In some ways, the pandemic saved us,” adds Christy. It opened the doors for a small business like ours. The customers really didn’t want to see us close, so they came out consistently and supported us. It was just Nana and me serving hot meals.”

Since the pandemic, Nana’s Kitchen is once again fully staffed and back to full speed. “We’ve had the same staff for two years, and we can’t thank them enough for all their hard work. They are like our family, too.”

There have been a few changes throughout the years. Since opening, they’ve served the same daily specials and are well known for their soups, salads, and grilled cheese sandwiches. They do now take Sundays off, feeling that after so many years, they’ve earned an extra day to rest and spend with their family. 

Nana’s Kitchen is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. For takeout orders, call (828) 859-0305.