To the average person, the little restaurant at the corner of Forest Lane and Audelia Road may not seem like much. But the store has become rooted in the community as a symbol of not only good fried chicken, but also opportunity and family.

Since 2005, Big Mama’s Chicken and Waffles has been family owned and operated. Owners April Porter and her niece Ashley Price took over the business in 2022 from Porter’s stepfather Bill Hampton and grandmother Beatrice “Big Mama” Stewart.

In that time, the walk-up- and drive-thru-only restaurant has employed many family members, including Porter’s and Price’s teenage children. While Porter and Price themselves have worked at other companies, they knew they wanted to keep the family business alive.

“You look at the blood, sweat and tears that have went in, ... and you know that nobody’s going to care for it like somebody who understands the sacrifice,” Porter said.

Now, the restaurant has recruited workers that may not be blood related, but Porter said she still considers them family. Many employees have worked at the restaurant for as long as a decade, helping them through difficult life experiences. She added many people labeled “outcasts”—going in and out of jail and struggling without a support system—have found a community working at Big Mama’s.

“We’ve always been there for this community,” Porter said.

At Big Mama’s, customers are treated like more than an order number, Porter said. The restaurant attracts generations of customers who come back to the restaurant throughout major life changes.

Porter and Price plan to continue Big Mama’s legacy and to keep improving it. While not trying to expand too early in their ownership, they’re thinking about starting a mobile food truck in the future.

“We’re not just the chicken shack on the corner,” Porter said. “We really care about the community. We’ve seen people grow up. I just want to keep that closeness.”

Business information:

Big Mama’s Chicken and Waffles, 11732 Audelia Rd, Dallas.

(214) 340-3035.

Hours: Mon-Sat: 10:30 AM - Midnight; Sun: 11:00 AM - Midnight