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The Breadhouse-Nakatosh restaurant serves soul food dishes and a place of community

Madelyn Murphy
Denise Bradley and Harry Hymes, owners of The Breadhouse-Nakatosh, happily pose in front of their restaurant.

Walking inside The Breadhouse-Nakatosh, customers are greeted warmly with the smell of fresh soul food. They enjoy food for the soul within a homey, comfortable environment.

Located at 1202 Texas St., The Breadhouse-Nakatosh is owned by Denise Bradley and Harry Hymes, or, as customers and employees know them, Miss B and Mr. James.

Today, Bradley and Hymes own The Breadhouse together, but their relationship goes further back than this. The couple has been dating for around nine years. However, they also dated when they were younger.

The two grew up on the same street in Natchitoches, visiting and sharing meals at each other’s houses. After Bradley’s parents felt Hymes was too old for her, the two went their separate ways. Bradley went all the way to California, where she lived with her sister and found herself a job.

Much has changed since then.

“In the same field where we are now used to be the old bread house warehouse; everyone used to come here and buy day-old bread and pastries when they were young with a grandparent, parent or uncle,” Bradley said. “It was just always a fun, feel-good place because you were going to be able to get a honey bun or something and he wasn’t going to squawk about it because it was the right price.”

After Bradley retired, she came back to Natchitoches to take care of her parents.

As good food connected Bradley and Hymes when they were younger, it found a way to bring them back together years later. After the old bread house closed, Hymes and Bradley drove by thinking about how such a nice building should be in use.

“Then, our minds just started rolling,” Bradley said.

The couple opened The Breadhouse–Nakatosh on April 24, 2021.

“After I retired, I just wanted to do something to help the community and stay connected,” Bradley said. “With the restaurant, we get a chance to feed the homeless and people that are down on their luck; we also meet a lot of people off of 49 that are on their way to Florida or New Orleans who Google us and come by because of our ratings.”

In addition to this, they were sure to carry on the old bread house’s feel-good environment and affordable prices for their food.

“We make the food that we grew up on with black-eyed peas, cream corn, cornbread dressing … and the barbeque is just the icing on the cake,” Bradley said.

The Breadhouse’s menu ranges from smoked brisket to beef tips and turnip greens to candied yams. This wide selection of food came from the efforts of the owners.

“When we first opened the business, I felt we needed some tea cakes, so I started looking for my grandmother’s recipe; I had half of it and my sister had the other half, so I put that together and perfected it,” Bradley said. “So, I make the tea cakes, now, as well as candied yams and peach cobbler; I learned how to make it good, and I learned that, with anything, if you keep doing it, you will get good at it.”

Bradley learned to cook a little later in life, but Hymes learned how to cook at 10 years old.

“My grandma inspired me when I was young; I’d hang around the table and she’d let me cut up stuff and mix up stuff inside the bowl; that got my interest up really quick because if you like food, you probably need to learn how to cook,” Hymes said. “We were from a big family of 13 siblings, so there was a lot of cooking going on in my family. Back in those days in the 50s and 60s, a lot of the family hung out together so when we did cook, it was like every day was a picnic.”

Hymes was surrounded by a family of good cooks. Because he is the main cook for The Breadhouse, the cooking style for the restaurant stems from Hymes’ grandmother’s cooking.

“We don’t have recipes, baby,” Hymes said. “We cook; you watch Grandma, you watch Mama, and they put a dash of this and a dash of that.”

Hymes picked up on his family’s cooking technique, and this adds to the homestyle food served at The Breadhouse. He finds comfort in cooking, as he comes from a passionate family.

“We love to see people enjoy our food,” Hymes shared. “And then we get a chance to talk to a lot of people, we tell people about Christ and then we get a homeless ministry going on where we feed people when they’re hungry and they can’t afford the food.”

Hymes has brought both his family’s passion and their hearts to The Breadhouse. He went on to describe what he enjoys the most about being a part of The Breadhouse.

“God will get a chance to use you; you get to meet people, serve people and feed people so they get more than just one thing when they come into The Breadhouse,” Hymes said. “Community and family – all that’s right here in The Breadhouse.”

Bradley and Hymes make the effort for their customers to feel seen. They feel it’s very important to treat people the way they would want to be treated, so they create a personal experience for their customers by thanking them and talking to them.

“We’re here to feed people and help them to grow spiritually and help us to grow too,” Hymes said. “In my opinion, that’s what it’s all about: growing spiritually, learning how to love people and we get love back in return.”

The owners’ efforts to spread love is made clear by how their employees feel about them.

“Compared to other bosses I’ve had, they’re very understanding, they’re very nice and if they can help you in any way, they do,” Rachel Jordan, who has been an employee at The Breadhouse for nearly two years, said.

Out of all the menu items, the beef tips are Jordan’s favorite. Still, it is clear that the “soulicious” food is not the only reason she’s had a good work experience.

“It’s laid back, it’s calm, it’s peaceful and, for the most part, it’s like a family,” Jordan said.

The family-like environment within The Breadhouse is felt through the kindness Bradley and Hymes share. This feeling fills the building and is even felt by the customers.

“The food is good, the owners are friendly whenever you come in and the quantity of the food is worth the price,” a customer visiting the Breadhouse said.

As reflected on the menu, Hymes looks for the lowest prices when grocery shopping for The Breadhouse. With this, some customers even eat with them three days a week. According to Bradley, a Northwestern State University of Louisiana student favorite is the $10 barbeque plate: a two-piece rib, two sides and a roll.

The Breadhouse is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. This upcoming April 24, 2024, they will have a third anniversary celebration. To view The Breadhouse-Nakatosh menu, visit their Facebook page here.

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About the Contributor
Madelyn Murphy
Madelyn Murphy, Current Sauce - Arts & Living Editor
Maddy Murphy is a freshman communication major at NSU. Spending her first semester as a reporter for The Current Sauce, she cannot wait to write news articles and stories inspired by both on-campus and off-campus events in Natchitoches. Her goal is to entertain students by including them in her writing, so be on the lookout—she may ask to interview you for a story!

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