Stephanies

by Tonya Dixon | May 11th, 2012
Rodney and Stephanie Hall

Rodney and Stephanie Hall (Photos by Jarvis Harris)

If anyone has lived around the Greensboro area it’s almost certain that they have heard of, if not eaten at the famous Stephanie’s Drive-Thru as well or the home-style restaurant, Stephanie’s II. The food served can best be described as good, old-fashioned, comfort food that your mama, grand mama and auntie used to make. In fact, when customers eat at either restaurant they are eating mama’s, grand mama’s and aunties food.
Owners of the highly successful restaurants, Rodney and Stephanie Hall, simply took their family recipes and started cooking, then invited the community to pull up a chair, to sit down and experience the delicious meals the two have always loved and enjoyed with their families.

Rodney and Stephanie Hall, natives from Pleasant Garden and Greensboro respectively, always had a dream to own and operate a restaurant. On May 8, 1999, they intuitively decided to “test the waters” by opening a drive thru. It provided the perfect opportunity for the budding restaurateurs to see if they had what it took to operate in the often fickle food service business. It is extremely apparent they had what it took to not only open and operate, but more importantly to tap into what the customers wanted and sufficiently and consistently meet their need.

According to co-owner and operator Rodney Hall, it all basically boiled down to taking a “giant leap out on faith.” Neither of the two owners have a background as professional chefs. In fact, Rodney admits he had never even worked in a restaurant, but he did have a dream, a mind to work hard, dedication and the extreme faith to just do it.
Rodney says he learned a great deal of practical advice and tactics from individuals he knew that owned McDonald’s Restaurants. He quickly realized it wasn’t as difficult as it would seem. However, there was one catch—Hall was determined to do it all on his own terms. “I didn’t want a franchise. I just wanted to do my own thing,” he says. “We wanted to fix food the way we wanted to fix it. Also hire the right people and set the structure up the way we wanted. I didn’t want to have to pattern after some big corporation.”

Indeed Rodney and Stephanie (whom the restaurant is named after) certainly have not patterned after anyone or anything. One would be hard pressed to name any other restaurant in which customers can go to a drive-thru and grab mouth-watering items like golden-brown, deep fried flounder sandwiches with baked beans, pork chop platters and countless other home-style items, and even desserts. The Halls did it and the community support was so intense that the couple decided a sit-down restaurant was definitely in order.

Additionally, Stephanie admits she wanted a place for patrons to sit down and enjoy their meals while also engaging with family and friends. Without delay, the couple opened Stephanie’s II Restaurant in late 2001. The sit-down restaurant also provided the opportunity for the Hall’s to delve deeper into home-cooking and offer other items they had always wanted to try. They definitely stepped up to the next level. Patrons can now have everything from hot wings to rib eye steak and turnip greens to okra.

Again the community coalesced and gave the new restaurant a resounding seal of approval. Stephanie’s II has unofficially become the Triad’s “go to” restaurant for home-style cooking; and the Hall’s couldn’t be more pleased, humbled and proud of the community. “I’m somewhat surprised but definitely pleased by our customer following and loyalty,” Rodney says. “You don’t see that in all businesses, but we are pleased.”

Not only has the community overwhelmingly supported Stephanie’s II but when many well-known individuals across the country want to sit down to good, home-cooked food, Stephanie’s II is where they are taken. The restaurant boasts a “wall of fame” to prove it. Nevertheless, it’s not the celebrities or potential income that drives Rodney and Stephanie. They just have a passion to cook and to share good food with people. One of the reason’s Rodney believes Sunday’s are such busy days at the restaurant is because people desire to get back to the “good old days” when everyone used to sit-down for Sunday dinner with family and friends for fellowship. However, there’s not much down time for the couple.

“There is no typical day for us,” Rodney says. “We are everywhere, going in different directions. We have very, very long days. You have to be the first one in and the last one to leave.” They delicately balance running their household, the drive-thru, the restaurant and for those who don’t know, they now have a thriving restaurant in Burlington, N.C.

If all that’s not enough they also offer mobile catering, which allows them to take the great taste of Stephanie’s to the community. They have been involved in various community outreach programs including the annual Back to School Bash which is directed by Manager Tyresha Manaway. It’s those type of events that keeps the couple and the brand on the pulse of the community. Always business-minded, the two recognize they would not have been so successful had it not been for the obvious community support, but also for their great employees. They have some employees who have been with them from the very beginning and they are very appreciative.

Through it all Rodney and Stephanie say they have been enormously blessed since their journey began in 1999. Everyday isn’t always the best nor is it the worst, but they both remain passionate and excited about what’s next. Rodney says, “I don’t ever want to say we’re done. I’m a dreamer. The sky’s the limit.”

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