One of the newest restaurants to take up residence in the Longview Mall food court has family as its backbone.

Khadijah “KD” Smith opened Eats or Treats in the mall with her mother, chef Sharon Jewell, her sister, DeShonda Roberts, and her brother, David Bullard.

Smith, who is originally from San Diego, has lived in East Texas for about 20 years, and her husband is from Marshall. They also own other businesses here in Longview.

Smith, though, said her family has had a dream for about 10 years of opening a restaurant here.

“We’ve been saving, praying, waiting for God to open an opportunity for us,” said Smith, and then the opportunity to open in the mall presented itself.

Her mother, she said, is a retired former chef with about 40 years of restaurant experience in San Diego, where Smith said she won many awards. Her brother and sister have skills and experience in other industries. Together, the family makes a “dream team,” she said.

“With all of us together, we kind of just build upon each other’s strengths,” Smith said.

They all share a love of cooking, she added.

“We’re a really positive family, a Christian family,” Smith said, and they enjoy making people happy. “Some of the recipes are just from our family and doing a twist on things and just to make it fun, to make people feel good, make people happy.”

The “Eats” menu features sandwiches such as The Rodeo, with barbecue brisket and mac and cheese on a soft roll; the Italian Stallion with salami, turkey, pepperoni and ham with olive oil and provolone cheese; or a Philly cheesesteak sandwich. Nacholoco is the family’s own brand of nachos, made from Doritos topped with brisket and other options. The restaurant’s signature mashed potatoes are served in a martini glass with a choice of toppings, all known as the “Mashtini.”

“My mom’s macaroni and cheese is to die for, and it’s on the menu as well,” Smith said.

On the “Treats” side, the restaurant offers The Dirty Pig, which consists of bacon dipped in white or milk chocolate with a choice of toppings. Large candy apples and frozen bananas dipped in chocolate and served with toppings also are on the menu.

“Good food, fun food. That’s what our family believes in,” Smith said.

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Jo Lee Ferguson wishes she kept her maiden name - Hammer - because it was perfect for a reporter. She’s a local girl who loves writing about her hometown. She and LNJ Managing Editor Randy Ferguson have two children and a crazy husky.