Watch now: How this Decatur restaurant worked to give out 400 free meals in one day – Herald & Review


DECATUR — Restaurant owner Darrell Holloway, aka “D-Boe,” doesn’t waffle on the subject of helping people in need: He stepped up Sunday afternoon and began serving free chicken and waffles.

And lots and lots of it. The line of waiting vehicles outside of Holloway’s D-Boe’s Chicken and Waffles business, 3777 N. Woodford St. in Decatur, curved around the block as diners, drawn by social media word of mouth, arrived in droves.

“This will go on until the food runs out,” said Holloway, speaking as he packed his delicious signature dishes into polystyrene to-go containers, ready to hand off to a small squad of volunteer servers. “My goal is to feed 400 people today,” he added.

Nakia Thomas hands over two meals to waiting diners. The volunteer helper said she was surprised, at first, by how many people came but then added: “It’s been a rough year.”

Why does a restaurant owner, part of a business group that has seen some real hard times itself after a turbulent year of COVID-19 restrictions, feel an overwhelming need to feed diners for free?

“I still feel I’ve been blessed, and so I want to do something to give back to the community and help out a little bit. The need is there,” said Holloway.

He had his own staff working alongside him as well as business colleagues like private chef and caterer Davin Bean, owner of 217 Flavor LLC.

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Darrell Holloway, aka “D-Boe,” gets busy with the fried chicken and waffles Sunday. 

“I’m here today to help out my friend, D-Boe, who is doing an awesome thing,” said Bean. He recalled times when others were around to help him and said it was now his turn to “turn around and help them.”

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With everybody masked and appropriately socially-distanced, the food distribution went smooth and fast. Servers like Nakia Thomas would check how many people were present in each car and report back with the number of meals required.

“You have to be present to get a meal and everybody present gets a meal,” she explained as the line of vehicles kept replicating itself like a wheeled production line: As soon as one departed, another pulled up to take its place.

“Yes, I am surprised,” said Thomas, when asked whether she expected this kind of response to the offer of a free meal. “But, well, it’s been a rough year,” she added.

Eighteen-year-old diner David Mabon, who had just picked up his chicken and waffles, summed up the feeling of all those on the receiving end.

“That D-Boe is a nice guy,” he said.

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid