She was once known as Akron’s Cookie Lady.
Ebony Brown would make the rounds on Saturdays, dropping off her famous oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip cookies at barbershops and beauty salons throughout the city.
She soon added navy bean pie, carrot cake and even pineapple upside-down pound cake to her offerings.
Brown’s culinary tastes have evolved since then as she will be the guest chef this weekend at the NoHi Pop-Up restaurant in Akron’s North Hill.
But her love of cooking for others hasn’t waivered since she was just 11 and found herself in charge of preparing dinner each night by cooking whatever she could find in the kitchen.
She credits her aunt Stephanie Harris and grandmother Carol Anderson for her early culinary skills and the art of “baking and creating cakes and pies that are made from scratch.”
Baking became the center of her focus at age 16 after she joined the Nation of Islam and helped with fundraising efforts.
Brown said she modeled a baked goods program after Minister Roland Muhammad of Cleveland to help raise money for the opening of the Blue Sea’s Fish house.
She turned to the kitchen once again years later to raise money for her family by selling cookies and other baked goods.
Brown became the head chef at Mother’s Food Service in 2006 and created some signature dishes there, like a banana split cheese pie, grilled salmon with broccoli special and the turkey chili burrito.
Her latest tastes in cooking, she said, are vegetarian meals inspired by the book “How To Eat To Live” by Elijah Muhammad.
She also has started an online cooking class.
The menu at the Ebbo-Nique’s Cuisine at NoHi is heavily influenced by vegetarian interest as of late.
The North Hill Community Development Corp. took over the kitchen of the former Mexico City Restaurant — before that the Office City Tavern — at 778 N. Main St. and once a week invites a budding chef to take over the place and offer food for the weekend.
The menu includes a lentil burger, an Italian sub with no-meat meatballs and a summer sub with onions and peppers and barbecue sauce. All sandwiches come with a choice of fries or a salad.
There’s also a lemon pepper crusted salmon offering that is served over Asiatic rice spiced with turmeric and herbs.
Appetizers include navy bean soup and pasta salad.
She’s bringing back some of her old favorites for dessert, including navy bean pie and carrot cake.
Ebbo-Nique’s Cuisine will be open for business for just one weekend from noon to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1-6 p.m. Sunday, with all dishes to-go only amid the pandemic.
To order ahead, call 234-231-1645 or visit www.northakroncdc.org/nohi starting on Wednesday.
Craig Webb can be reached at [email protected]