Founder/Owner of Martha’s
Place restaurant and catering service since 1988, landmark restaurant in downtown Montgomery, AL
Founded Martha Hawkins Ministries, an organization that works with low income kids and single parents for the purpose of letting people know what they are capable of doing
Four sons, grandchildren
Martha Hawkins: Finding Martha's Place
Martha overcame despair and darkness to find strength and success, eventually opening her now-famous restaurant, Martha’s Place restaurant, a fixture in Montgomery, AL. It’s a nationally known stop for celebrities going through the Deep South, like Whoopi Goldberg, Sissy Spacek, Ty Pennington, Ted Koppel, Angela Bassett, and Clifton Davis. It was a long journey to find Martha’s Place.
Martha was a poor, uneducated, single mother on welfare. At one point she was committed to a psychiatric facility. In her bleakest moment, she was set back on the right path by a special verse in Isaiah 61, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek, etc." She felt empowered by God, like she could do anything. That’s when she started her faith walk.
She went back to school, got her GED, and took counseling classes so she could minister to others. While operating a side business selling cakes and pies to area business people, Martha met some folks whose help would make her lifelong dreams a delicious reality. Martha says, “It’s not about where you are from, or how you got to where you are, but about whether you can step into God’s promise for your life that makes all the difference between failure and success, poverty and prosperity, sadness and happiness, even life and death.”
After 22 years, Martha’s Place is still going strong. She hasn’t had a bank loan since she started, and Martha and her family are still closely working in the restaurant. She says it’s wonderful because other people have spread the word about her restaurant and she hasn’t had to advertise.
She still prays over the restaurant every morning, and even with and for the patrons, if they ask her. She also has started Martha Hawkins Ministries, an organization that works with low income kids and single parents for the purpose of letting people know what they are capable of doing. She still volunteers to reach out to people in prison, holds Bible studies for low income children, and speaks at different venues.
FOOD AND FAMILY
Though there were tough times in segregated Montgomery, Alabama, there was always a lot of love in the Hawkins household. Martha was the 10th of 12 children in a family with little money but plenty of love. Though they were poor, there was always enough food for the family and whoever would visit the house. Her mom could take a stack of fresh vegetables from the backyard garden and make a feast. Her mother’s food and the good feeling at the Hawkins’ home is the inspiration for Martha’s recipes and restaurant today.
Web Exclusive Holiday Video
Martha Hawkins on How to Use Your Thanksgiving Leftovers
DREAMS BECOME REALITY
Martha earned her GED in 1985 when she was 38. She went back to church and got more involved. Through some of these connections and volunteering, God provided opportunities for Martha, speaking in the U.S. Senate about welfare, cooking at a big conference, and catering for a 20th Century Fox movie (where she met and was inspired by the popular writer Maya Angelou). Those days were lean times for Martha. She started taking cakes around and selling them to different businesses. One patron she met at one of the businesses was a Montgomery attorney, Calvin Pryor. He was a regular and really liked Martha’s pound cake. Mr. Pryor had the perfect property for her - he owned a home in downtown that was in a commercial property zone. After about a year, Martha’s Place officially opened on October 17, 1988.
Martha’s biography with some of her popular recipes has just been released and soon she will be releasing a full cookbook. A frozen food line is also in the works for Martha. Martha will cook Sallie Hawkin’s cornbread, pork chop casserole, Calvin Pryor’s whipped cream pound cake, and lima beans.
Free Holiday Recipes:
Let's Talk Turkey Leftovers
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