ot all Nanas work out of their home kitchens to bring stories and home cooked meals together. In fact, many of them are regular faces in the community, offering daily smiles and service to all of us. Toni Burrows and Liz Farris are two such women.
Together, they run The Hole in the Wall Cafe in Downtown Conway in the “Old Gin,” located at 1016 Markham St. The facility also serves as an event hall and catering is available year round.
In 2019, Toni and Liz have launched a new program for a special group of people they hold in high regard at the cafe. Caring and Sharing for Faulkner County Seniors: The Mrs. Odeal Adams Foundation will kick off February 1 and will offer a free meal for area seniors and their caregivers once a month.
“Since I’ve been here,” Toni begins through tears, “Well, since I’ve been here, I have served food to so many older people who I have loved. I have brought them food to their houses, just because they requested it and they couldn’t get out of the house. So many have passed away. … I’ve gotten to know their caretakers, too.
“I just thought, ‘What can I do?’”
Toni recruited Liz, and together they made a plan. The Hole in the Wall will show support for seniors and their caretakers one plate of meatloaf or fried chicken at a time.
“Older people know what real food is,” Toni says. “To be able to give them that is something we know how to do.”
The program is named in honor of a longtime friend and customer Mrs. Odeal Adams who soon will turn 95 years old. She is known throughout the city of Conway as a “precious soul who has touched so many people’s lives,” Toni says. And Mrs. Adams is the inspiration for the program.
And the program also is special to Liz. Having been a constant caretaker for own parents through the end of their lives and having cared for a daughter through a cancer battle, Liz says caretakers are due a home-cooked meal that is good for the heart and soul.
“I cared for my mother and father for seven years two nights a week and weekends,” she recalls. “We always cooked for Mom and Dad, and we had Meals on Wheels some, but it is so helpful to feed them, too – to give them a meal and something good.”
Both Toni and Liz have grandchildren of their own, and know how important relationships are now and in the future. Toni has five grandchildren who call her “Mimi.” Liz has one new grandbaby who she hopes will call her “Granny.”
Toni says she knows God has great plans for all her grands, but she never avoids an opportunity to pass on her lessons of goodwill to others or a recipe for her own grandmother’s biscuits.
“I can make a mean homemade biscuit,” Toni laughs. “Everything we make here is homemade, and most are recipes I’ve had forever.”
Among the favorites in the restaurant she says are her meatloaf, fried cornbread and parmesan chicken.
“They’re all traditional, from scratch,” she says.
In honor of the kickoff to the program, Toni agreed to share the secrets to her Coconut Cake with WINC Magazine.
“I can’t believe I’m doing this,” she squirms, handing over the recipe. “People love it, though! I won’t give away my recipes for Fresh Strawberry Cake or my Peanut Butter Pie! Every dessert is homemade, and it’s always a close race between the fresh strawberry drizzle and that Peanut Butter Pie!”
• 1 White Cake Mix
• 1 Pkg. Dry Whipped Topping
• 3 Eggs
• 1 Tbs. Coconut Flavoring
• ⅔ Cup Oil
• ¾ Cup Water
Mix together first two mixtures on LOW speed. Be sure there are no lumps. Spray pan lightly and flour. Pour mixture in pan and bake on center rack at 325 degrees for about 18-20 mins. Check after 15 minutes.
While cake is baking mix the following:
• 1 can Cream of Coconut
• 1 tsp. Vanilla
• 2 Tbs. Coconut flavoring
• 1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
When cake comes out of the oven and is hot, take tablespoon and press down on cake,
making holes about an inch long all the
way across and down the cake. Pour ½ of the cream mixture over cake and let cool. Put the other half of the cream mixture in cooler to use later.
For the icing you will need;
• 2 pkg cream cheese 8 oz. room temp
• 1 tsp. Vanilla
• 2 Tbs. cold butter sliced thin
• 2 ½ cups of powdered sugar
Mix together on medium cream cheese, vanilla & butter. Slowly add in powdered sugar. When cake is cooled, spread over
top and add toasted coconut as desired.