Auntie Vee’s bringing peach cobbler, mac and cheese to Milton

Peach cobbler from the menu of Auntie Vee's Kitchen.

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Peach cobbler from the menu of Auntie Vee's Kitchen.

Navena Moore started baking to deal with the stress from her job in the real estate business during the 2007 housing crash and a move to the Chicago suburbs from the city.

“It was hard for me to adjust, so I had to internalize the energy,” Moore said. “One day, I got up and made my favorite thing to eat, oatmeal raisin cookies. I didn’t even know I could bake, I hadn’t done it before.”

The self-described former “microwave queen” took to baking so naturally that she turned her newfound talent into a business that has sustained for more than a decade, and will make the move later this summer from Chicago to Milton.

The restaurant is set to open in August at 12890 Highway 9, in the former Scratch Fresh space.

Auntie Vee’s started out in 2011 at farmers markets selling pastries and desserts including cookies, cupcakes, bread pudding and sweet potato cream cheese pie.

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Macaroni and cheese from the menu of Auntie Vee's Kitchen.

Credit: Courtesy of Auntie Vee's Kitchen

Macaroni and cheese from the menu of Auntie Vee's Kitchen.

Credit: Courtesy of Auntie Vee's Kitchen

Combined ShapeCaption
Macaroni and cheese from the menu of Auntie Vee's Kitchen.

Credit: Courtesy of Auntie Vee's Kitchen

Credit: Courtesy of Auntie Vee's Kitchen

A food truck came in 2013, allowing Auntie Vee’s to get its name out and develop a following. A couple years later, the menu shifted to feature savory items after taking first prize at a local macaroni and cheese festival with a mac and cheese bread pudding dish.

“I’m this little cupcake truck, and no one saw me coming,” Moore said of taking the Golden Noodle award.

The savory menu, which was also offered via Auntie Vee’s catering services, featured dishes like protein bowls with a base of garlic butter rice or mac and cheese and a choice of jerk chicken, cheesesteak and barbecue chipotle chicken.

A vegetarian option includes a mix of corn, beans, cabbage, spinach, mushrooms and peppers over mac and cheese or rice. The Milton menu will likely add salmon as a protein option, and paninis will likely also be added. Other options will include stir-frys, loaded fries and sandwiches.

Moore, who is Muslim, said all the meat used in Auntie Vee’s dishes is certified Halal.

Drinks include coconut lemonade and the Lila Breeze made with sherbert, pineapple juice and condensed coconut milk. The menu will also continue to offer a variety of desserts, including peach cobbler and caramel cake with specials on Sundays like red velvet cake and bread pudding.

Many of Auntie Vee’s dishes are developed as “epiphanies,” Moore said. “Sometimes out of nowhere, I’ll wake up and (tell my daughters), ‘Girls, I had a dream. What do you think about trying this?’ It’s very important who you have on your team. I have people who have very strong palettes. It always goes through a taste test with the team before new dishes get added to the menu.”

Moore’s “team” is very much a family affair, with her father, Clayton, helping with marketing; daughters Kamarah Ojo and Khalila Holmes serving as managers; and husband Brett Leftwich on tap as “smoke daddy,” grilling and smoking the menu’s meats.

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The counter-service space seats about 44 guests inside, with space for 15 on the outdoor patio.

Auntie Vee’s opening hours will be 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays and noon-7 p.m. on Sundays.

Scroll down to see the full menu for Auntie Vee’s:

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Auntie Vee's menu

Credit: Auntie Vee's

Auntie Vee's menu

Credit: Auntie Vee's

Combined ShapeCaption
Auntie Vee's menu

Credit: Auntie Vee's

Credit: Auntie Vee's

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