Exclusive Interview With Patricia Whitfield Co- Owner of Ella B’a Restaurant In Arlington

SDM- Ella B’s is an incredible restaurant! When you drive up, you are met with one of the most impressive murals you will ever see on a restaurant! It is simply beautiful. Take us back a bit before you and your husband started the restaurant. Are you all from the Dallas area and what did you do before you opened Ella B’s?

EB- Both my Husband and my family are from Blytheville Arkansas. He grew up there, I grew up an Army Brat. My Dad was in the Army, so I had the privilege of being able to travel and have exposure to different countries and cultures. When my Dad retired in the late 80’s we moved back to Blytheville. I met Patrick and we had our daughter, got married, and moved to Dallas. Having a restaurant has always been Chef Patrick’s dream, but we had to start with catering. We have provided catering services in the DFW Metroplex, Arkansas, and Atlanta, GA for over 15 years.

SDM- Your establishment is beautiful! The outside art on the door is breathtaking. How did you come up with that?

EB- During our years catering, I found out I had a gift of decorating and planning. In addition to the catering service, we also provided event planning services to our clients to streamline the entire event process and make the business a one-stop shop. In doing this, I created Black Butterfly Events, which is my event planning business. That is where the beautiful butterfly comes from and signifies process and transformation.

SDM- Now let’s talk about the incredible food, drinks, and atmosphere! What types of food and drinks are you known for? Also, you have live music! Tell us about your live music and the vibe of the place.

EB- Chef Patrick and I love to travel! Some of our favorite southern places to visit are New Orleans, Atlanta, Hilton Head and Savannah. I specifically love the way I feel when we go there. There is a nostalgic vibe that makes you feel that even if you are away from home, you still feel at home. That is the vibe I wanted to capture at Ella B’s Restaurant. We wanted guests to have an experience that encompasses customer service, culinary, and atmosphere. The food is merely comfort food. Flavorful southern dishes we grew up eating, along with Cajun options that Chef Patrick has created. Everyone loves the Honey Fried Chicken. It has been our number one seller since we opened. The peach cobbler is the most popular dessert. I wanted to include live entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights because there are not a lot of places in DFW where you can dine with great food and listen to a band. We hire local bands to perform, which opens an opportunity to expose their talent to a new market of people. We wanted to create a space where guests would feel comfortable and experience great food and music. I believe we did just that.

SDM– You can also accommodate birthday parties and other events, right? I heard you have a great brunch!

EB- Yes, we are closed Monday through Wednesday, which allows companies, organizations, or individuals to rent the space for meetings, social gatherings, repasses, receptions, and political gatherings. These are just some of the events we have hosted in the past. When we are open, we also offer birthday packages for 9 to 25 guests who want to host their parties in the main dining room during service. We also have a private room which holds a maximum of thirty people. Yes, we just started back offering brunch options on Sunday. Chef Patrick has created a delicious brunch menu and we have already started receiving great reviews.

SDM- The restaurant business is a tough one. How have you been able to survive in a challenging business environment?

EB- Keep moving forward and a lot of Prayer. It has definitely been tough.  This industry took a hard hit during Covid, and we opened at the tail end of Covid, and it was tough finding industry talent. Actually, it’s still a challenge finding talent with restaurant experience.  We have found the hospitality industry talent found work elsewhere with better pay during Covid and they have not returned. So unfortunately, we are faced with workers who must be trained. There is an expected learning curve, and you do not want to be one of those micromanaging bosses, but we are forced to drive our business ethics into people who, candidly speaking, don’t have any.  Unfortunately, we, the owners, must be the drivers to sustain business and that takes a lot of time. It has really been an eye-opening experience. We have made mistakes ourselves along the way, but we have learned to communicate more to ensure the success of the business.

SDM-Our hope for you is that Ella B’s continues to not only survive but thrive! What are the hours of operation? How can people reach you for reservations? Also, how can we follow you on social media?

EB- Our hours of operation are Thursday through Saturday, 4:00pm – 11:00pm and Sunday Brunch is 11:00am – 3:30pm. We recommend making a reservation, but walk-ins are welcome. To make a reservation, visit our website at www.ellabsrestaurant.com and click on the reservation tab.  To inquire about catering or book the private dining room or reserve a table for a large party, call 214-288-0186 or email partywithellabsrestaurant.com.  Our Instagram is @ella_bs_restaurant. Facebook: Ella B’s Restaurant and guests can visit our website at www.ellabsrestaurant.com

SDM- Lastly, where did the name Ella B’s come from and is there anything else that you would like our readers to know?

EB- The name Ella B’s came from Chef Patrick’s Grandmother, Ms. Ella B Whitfield. She was such a powerful force in his life, raising him and inspiring him to love people and to cook. We just want people to come and have a great experience.

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