Over the past several years, Mebane has gotten plenty of new dining options. Much of them have been fast food, as the town has accommodated growing traffic and residential development south of the I-40/I-85 interchange with the addition of Arby’s, Chick-fil-A, Taco Bell, and Cook Out just in the past couple years alone.
Mebane’s newest restaurant - Cooking Corner - does not fall in line with the types of dining facilities that have been coming to town in recent years. The brainchild of newly-supplanted Mebane residents Richard and Donna Miller, Cooking Corner, located at 900 Mebane Oaks Road at the intersection with Fifth Street, is a healthy alternative to all the fast food that has spouted up in the area in recent years.
“It’s a little bit of a different concept to have no deep fryer. Everything has to be baked or grilled. It’s a little different,” Donna Miller said at Cooking Corner’s Grand Opening, which was held in front of the restaurant the morning of Tuesday, February 4. “We have our salads - they’re fresh, made right here. Not transported in. Everything is very much fresh.”
“It is a very healthy place. That’s one of the assets when looking at this facility,” Mebane Mayor Ed Hooks added.
Some of the distinguished guests who were onhand for Cooking Corner’s Grand Opening included Mayor Hooks, Alamance County Commissioner Steve Carter, Mebane City Council member Sean Ewing, and town officials including City Manager David Cheek, City Attorney Lawson Brown, and Assistant City Manager Chris Rollins, along with numerous representatives of the Alamance Chamber of Commerce.
“Thank you so much for coming. It means a great deal to us to be able to open. It was almost a two-year struggle to do this building, and to keep its integrity, and still make it a good place to eat. We thank all of the town people. We really appreciate the kindness that Mebane has shown to us,” Mrs. Miller stated. “The people that have come have welcomed us. They’ve been patient as we’ve learned, and try to do the best we can. But we are thrilled to be here. And it’s because of all of you folks who have made it possible. We welcome you. We appreciate your coming - it is a beautiful day.”
The Millers converted an old bank that had been at the location into Cooking Corner, creating a cozy yet spacious facility for local residents. Those who may not feel like a hamburger or a fried chicken sandwich for lunch can find sandwich options including BLTs, cheese melts, corned beef, chicken salad, ham and cheese, egg salad, and roast beef, among other items, on both wraps and buns. The restaurant offers numerous sides including Mac and cheese, slaw, potato salad, cauliflower crunch, calico beans, sweet potato casserole, and chips, as well as fresh soups, salads, and desserts.
“Cooking Corner is a new wholesome restaurant, made by converting a large bank,” read a press release distributed at the Grand Opening. “Extensive remodeling was what turned this building into something beautiful. When you walk in, there is a very high peak going to a gorgeous skylight. This restaurant has an amazing location and there is plenty of parking space. Also, it is up to date with their sale system. It has been through meticulous inspections and is now up to the highest standards as far as local restaurants can go. Additionally, it has top-of-the-line equipment that is all up to the highest inspection standards, including a conveyor oven.”
“Opening Cooking Corner was a personal decision,” the Millers added in the press release handed out to guests at the Grand Opening. “Several dieticians have taught us the importance of eating well. We will be serving comforting, healthy foods. There are different types of egg tarts with various cheeses, vegetables, herbs, and meats. We also have an option for those who are vegan or vegetarian. Our fresh-baked goods include bagels, muffins, naan, gluten-free bread, etc.. Lunch menus feature a variety of homemade soups, fresh salads, and delicious sides. We also offer many tasty desserts, such as ice cream malts and floats, and drinks including tea, coffee, and bottled juices.”
The local dignitaries onhand not only praised the owners of Cooking Corner for its varied menu options, but also for taking a chance on Mebane to start their new business.
“We’re here to celebrate the ribbon cutting of Cooking Corner,” said Willie Fisher, Vice-Chair of Marketing for the Alamance Chamber of Commerce. “If you’re not excited to eat yet when you walk inside, you’ll be more excited. And if you’re not hungry when you walk inside, you will be hungry. It’s really a unique thing. With the Chamber, we’re always trying to be a little bit better. And it’s great to see folks to come in - business owners - who try to do something a little bit better. Who try to bring something a lot of folks want.”
“They have breakfast all day. Lots of really cool things,” Fisher continued. “And what they’ve done inside will certainly make you say wow. There’s beautiful lighting. They did some renovations. Donna and Richard and the team, you’ve really got something special here. We’re just excited for you guys to be a part of this town. We’re just really, really happy to have you as part of our Alamance Chamber community.”
“This is indeed a pleasure,” added Mayor Hooks. “As Mayor, one of the duties is looking forward to great new openings, and this is certainly one of them. This was probably one of the most anticipated openings in some time. This whole project was a project of love, and one of dedication.”
Mayor Hooks spoke of the process that took the Millers from just another retired couple living in town to proprietors of this exciting new business endeavor.
“The Millers moved here I think a year and a half ago, and I don’t think they liked retired life very much. So they decided to do this, and you have opened up a fantastic place. I want to welcome you to the City of Mebane,” Hooks said. “Our phrase is “Positively Charming.” And you could not ask for any better. None of us thought of this when we adopted this phrase, that “Positively Charming” is probably the most fantastic way to describe this fantastic restaurant. I want to compliment the Millers for investing in Mebane. Mebane’s future is fantastic, and we’re looking forward to many other great openings.”
Hooks mentioned former Mayor Glendel Stephenson, who has already become a regular customer at Cooking Corner. Hooks detailed the months of work that Stephenson put alongside the Millers assisting them with this project prior to the conclusion of his final term.
“The (the former Mayor and Mrs. Stephenson) send their love and regrets. Glendel had surgery on his knee and just couldn’t get out, but he wishes you all the best,” Hooks said. “As this dream was beginning, he (former Mayor Stephenson) stopped in and met this delightful couple, and offered a lot of help and assistance in getting a fantastic contractor. They just jumped in and did a fantastic job.”
“It’s a great day,” Hooks continued. “The Mayor always had one of the great closings - It’s a great day to be in Mebane, Alamance County, North Carolina, USA. And I don’t think you can improve on that much better except to say welcome to the “Positively Charming” City of Mebane. And I thank you all so much for coming. Thank you for believing in Mebane, and believing in a great idea. We look forward to tremendous success in the future. Thank you all for what you’ve done, and what you all are going to do.
“Donna and Richard, I’ve looked inside your place, and it’s an amazing job what you’ve done here. The venue looks fabulous. I know my wife absolutely loves reubens, and I see you have reubens on the menu. I know she will want to try that out,” added Alamance County Commissioner Steve Carter. “I want to welcome you all for Alamance County, as a representative of our Commission.”
Commissioner Carter indicated that the projected growth in Alamance County between now and 2035 is to take the county to another 40,000 people - to approximately 204,000 citizens.
“We are one of the fastest-growing states in the country. And we are living in one of the fastest-growing counties in the country. And Mebane is one of the fastest-growing cities in the state and the county,” Carter said. “What’s going on right here in Mebane is pretty fabulous. I think there are great opportunities for a business like this in this community. I wish you all a whole lot of luck, and a very prosperous future.”
“We’ve got to find a place to put them (all these people coming to Alamance County),” Carter added. “I know Mebane is trying to do everything it can. Burlington is, Graham is, and the county is. But that’s a lot of people. So I suspect we’ll see a lot more new businesses coming to our communities in the future."
Learn more about The Cooking Corner at https://www.restaurantji.com/nc/mebane/cooking-corner-/.