HARKER HEIGHTS – An annual tradition continued on Saturday as dozens of people devoured hot dishes of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, green beans and buns – all for free, to boot – courtesy of Ma’s Place, a restaurant in Harker Heights.
Katie Silva, the daughter of owner Vickie Silva, said there was a line at the door when she arrived at work, as people waited for a bite to eat from the meal which started at 3 p.m. .
“I got here around 2:30 p.m., and at 3:00 p.m. our parking lot was full and they were standing outside waiting for us,” said Katie Silva.
Vickie Silva, who opened the restaurant seven years ago in a location different from its current location on Veterans Memorial Boulevard, said the restaurant has served around 60 to 65 meals in the past. She was confident, however, that this year’s number would exceed that.
Two of the meals that were handed out on Saturday were to Ernie Pemberton and his wife, Zenaida. They were visiting family and traveled to Harker Heights from Bloomington, near Victoria.
“My daughter lives, like I said, just down the street, and we walked past it, and I said, ‘You know what, we’re going to go back and try it,'” said Pemberton, even before he knew the meals were free.
Pemberton said his food was delicious.
“I had the turkey, but it was absolutely the best,” he said. “You can bottle the sauce and send it like that.” “
A regular at the restaurant – and a good friend of the Silvas – ate at a table near the Pembertons.
Jan Coplin, the Killeen resident, said she came often throughout the week and it was good to see her friend serving the community the way she does.
“This is something she learned while working at Hallmark (Cafe) under the direction of Jerry Henderson,” said Coplin. “They did, and so when she opened her house, she kept doing it.”
Vickie Silva said the reason she is doing it is simply because she has to.
“You have to give back to the community,” she said. “They support you. You have to support them.