New restaurant to open in Tarboro

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Jermaine Hinton, front, and Jaesun Winstead paint Thursday as they renovate the former Cotton's Restaurant and Grill to become Hel'Lette's Family Dining in Tarboro.


Staff Writer

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

TARBORO — A long-closed restaurant just west of downtown Tarboro is going to be transformed into a future eating place with soul food on the menu.

Jermaine Hinton, 37, and Jaesun Winstead, 42, are planning to open Hel’Lette’s Family Dining at 117 W. St. James St. at what had been Cotton’s Restaurant and Grill.

“We’re looking to actually bring something different to Tarboro,” Hinton said.

Hinton said he believes a problem in the Edgecombe County seat is a lot of people must go to Rocky Mount to enjoy a sit-down, family-style meal in a nice restaurant. Hinton said he and his partner want a place where families can gather and have a good time.

And Hinton made clear the business is going to be run with class and respect.

“My thing is if I’m paying you to serve me food, I want to see a pleasant attitude,” Hinton said. “We want to make sure that all our staff know that your focus is to make sure that the people are comfortable when they’re eating — and they feel at home as well.”

Hinton said the name Hel’Lette’s is a fusion of the first part of the first name of Winstead’s mother, Helen, and the last part of the first name of his late mother, Paulette.

As for why Hinton and Winstead wanted to set up Hel’Lette’s, Hinton said, “For one, we both have a passion in cooking, pleasing people with a taste to remember.”

Hinton said Winstead is going to be bidding farewell to working approximately eight years at Ruby Tuesday’s in Rocky Mount. Hinton also said Winstead’s background in Rocky Mount includes having worked at Twitch Bar and Grill and at The Spicy Pickle Restaurant and Bar.

Hinton, who is in the property management business, said his mother worked for another family member’s restaurant and was famous for her cooking.

“And when she passed away, it was something that I wanted to make sure that I actually remembered her through as well,” he said.

He said the plan is to open Hel’Lette’s on May 9, in honor of his mother’s birthday.

He said plans are to hire approximately 15 employees and be able to seat approximately 130 customers.

He said the business hours are going to be from 5:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays and from 5:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to midnight on Fridays.

He said on the weekends, the business hours are going to be from 5:30 a.m. to midnight on Saturdays and 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays.

As for breakfast, Hinton said the plan is to offer pancakes, waffles, bacon and different types of sausages.

And Hinton said there’s going to be a turkey alternative for those who don’t want to eat pork.

He said the lunch and dinner menu is going to include wings of different flavors, along with a variety of pastas and seafood.

And he said the business is going to include catering and delivering and a Sunday buffet.

The name of the former Cotton’s is a reference to the late H.L. “Cotton” Guill, who originally had a gasoline service station at the location but who began lighting up a grill and cooking hamburgers for his regular customers.

The food service part of the operation apparently became so popular the site became a restaurant and diner.

Although Guill died, his family kept Cotton’s going until late 2013.

Hinton said he and Winstead have been working on the former Cotton’s for a couple of months.

“The downtown Tarboro area is picking back up and is beginning to build itself back up,” he said. “And we definitely wanted to be a part of that, the growing town.”

Hel’Lette’s is on Facebook.