Lewis said that some of his customers' favorites are New Orleans red beans and rice with sausage, shrimp po'boys, crab cakes, jambalaya, Southern pecan pie and "my famous New Orleans bread pudding with a rum sauce."
"I'll be getting oysters in the next week and will start making oyster po'boys soon. I might do a potato po'boy soon for vegetarians. I have a vegetarian pasta I make with garlic, butter, white wine, sautéed spinach, red peppers and green peppers," Lewis said.
Lewis worked at the I Rise Café, a soul-food restaurant on the East End, and Charleston Embassy Suites, before opening his business with his wife. He is also a waiter at the Charleston Brewing Co.
"I'm juggling that and this. Hopefully, someday I can have the Shepherd's Café full time. I'm in love with Charleston. I just need to build this up so that I can do this full time. It's a good challenge, though, and I'm on top of it," Lewis said.
"My wife, Tatia Maze-Lewis, works at the Capitol. She does the baking. She can bake anything. Anything you want," Lewis said.
He said that he and Elder James Carter Jr. had talked for several months about him opening a food business. "It materialized and I decided to call it Shepherd's Café because the sheep know the shepherd's voice. I'm hoping [Charleston residents are] going to know our cooking voice in a minute," Lewis said, smiling.
Lewis moved to Charleston in May 2010. "I've been in Charleston three years now. I was in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. I spent six days in the Superdome, and I was bused to Texas and stayed there a few years. My sister, Mary Johnson, moved here right before the hurricane -- she has six kids and they had been robbed three times.
"She got on the Internet and looked for the safest places in America to live and Charleston, W.Va., popped up. She encouraged me to come here. She said it was a nice place with friendly people. I made a decision to do what she did and come to Charleston," Lewis said.
Mary Johnson was honored as a YWCA Woman of Achievement earlier this year. She is the owner of Caregivers, a home health care business.
Shepherd's Café's business hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. While the weather is good, Lewis is at the corner of Summers and Virginia streets from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays. His offerings there vary from week to week.
To place a delivery or catering order, call Lewis at 304-410-2465. "You can start calling at 9 a.m. to get your name on the list for delivery," Lewis said.
Reach Judy E. Hamilton at judy.hamil...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.