The recipe for Tomeka Crawford’s dream-come-true business is filled with things like a drive to succeed, community support, a constant pursuit of knowledge, a network of experts, an edge from the state and many blessings.
The freshly renovated restaurant will feature dine-in and take-out options. The menu will be filled with items Ms. Crawford has become famous for, including her mac and cheese and other home-cooked soul food options. Seafood lovers will want to make Tomeka’s Homestyle Eatery a regular stop.
The new eatery owner grew up in Hurlock, Maryland, on the Eastern Shore. She said her connection to that area taught her a lot about seafood, especially preparing crabs. “I’m focused on jumbo lump. That’s one of my favorites. You get the meat. I’m from the Eastern Shore, I’m a shore girl,” she said.
For Dover’s newest restaurateur, her eatery isn’t just the culmination of hard work and the realization of a dream, it’s also a tribute to her mother who passed away last year. “My mother always loved some pork products so I will have her fried pork chops. I will have barbecue ribs. I do baby back ribs. We will have turkey wings. We’ll have fried chicken and a variety of other items,” Ms. Crawford said. Tomeka’s will also feature a daily special.
“You may see some vegetarian dishes or vegetarian lasagna, loaded eggplant. You may see some alfredos, you may see taco days. I will serve sandwiches and salads, too,” Ms. Crawford said. Ms. Crawford said she has always loved to cook. She found her way around the kitchen with her mother. That is where she got her entrepreneurial spirit from, too. “I was with her hand-to-hand and foot-to-foot. I watched her in the kitchen. I watched her serve the community. I watched her when everybody came in, she offered a meal. I watched her and it just leaked into my spirit that this is what I really want to do. And I never lost it,” she said. In their small community in Hurlock, Ms. Crawford’s mother was known as the “Freeze Cup Lady.” She made money to buy school clothes for her family by selling frozen treats from her home to people in their neighborhood.
Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce President Dina Vendetti said of Ms. Crawford, “She has an incredible story.” “She wanted to open a restaurant featuring homestyle cooking. She came to Kent County Open for Business — a free business development service offered to the community by the CDCC. And now she is a wonderful success story,” Dr. Vendetti said.