By Navar Watson
After eight months of business, Noblesville resident Barbara Pullien Jackson is continuing to preserve her mother’s cooking legacy with Pullien’s City Cafeteria, now expanding their menu to serving breakfast.
The cafeteria replaced Mancino’s Pizza & Grinders at 17901 River Ave. and opened on New Year’s Eve, surpassing Mancino’s seven months of operation at the same facility.
“It’s been a learning experience,” said Jackson, who had never run a restaurant before now. “We’re just praying and hoping that things will just build up and get better and better.”
A native of Columbus, Ohio, Jackson moved to Noblesville with her husband, James, in 2006. She left her job of 20 years as an office manager at a dentist’s office. Having done catering since the 1980s, Jackson wanted to create an event center in Noblesville she could cater for. The idea eventually led to a restaurant.
Pullien’s serves cafeteria-style, Southern “comfort food.” They also have a grill feature, where they can cook chicken liver, catfish and tenderloins at the customer’s request. The recipes come from Jackson’s mother, Lucille Pullien, who entered the cooking business at about 12 years old and later cooked for Ohio State University and the Ohio Dept. of Youth Services. Jackson named the restaurant “Pullien” to carry on her legacy.
The restaurant also features a tribute to Eddie Mode, owner of Eddie’s Corner Café, which closed in July 2013. Mode donated tables, chairs and dishes to the cafeteria when it opened. Pullien’s dedicated a back section of the restaurant to Mode, calling it “Eddie’s Corner.”
“I want everyone to come in to an atmosphere of comfort – not only for the food but for the soul,” Jackson said.
Jackson’s family has been a member of the Noblesville Chamber of Commerce since 2011. At the chamber’s annual A Taste of Business event, they won the award for best food in 2012 and the People’s Choice Award in 2013.
Jackson said she is hopeful for the business’s future. She plans to increase signage facing River Avenue to alert people of their establishment, which sits next to Marsh Supermarket.
“It’s been an experience, but I wouldn’t trade it,” Jackson said. “I don’t have any regrets.”
Pullien’s is looking for the help of a financial investor, Jackson said. They are also experimenting with their hours of operation to see what works best for the business and for the customers.
On Aug. 18, Pullien’s changed their hours to 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. They are closed on Sundays.