Annette Oxentine Earp Hatley Class of 1988
Manager, Caterer, Cook, Myras Restaurant, Valdese

Myras Sandwich and Ice Cream Shop is one of the most recognized businesses in all of Eastern Burke County. Their sandwiches, sundaes, breakfast items, and catered meals have been pleasing the public for nearly half a century. With its old-timey diner atmosphere and extensive menu, Myras has something to appeal to everyone.

Annette Oxentine Earp Hatley has worked there since the restaurant opened 46 years ago and has become one of the most recognized faces in the area. She started out as a child by making lemonade, but soon she began to expand her skills and is currently manager, cook, and caterer.

I serve people with honesty and smiles and stand behind what I cook, she explains. I work hard to be sure that the food tastes great, looks awesome, and is served well so people will call me back! I enjoy preparing meals, and I also enjoy both local people and so many others from surrounding states, counties, and towns who regularly patronize our business. Ive had the pleasure of serving both locals and celebrities such as race car drivers, Rockettes, and the Showstoppers staff. Food brings people together, and I and the other employees get so much pleasure knowing that so many people enjoy what we serve.

After I got married, I worked for a while at the Subway in King, NC, and at JC Penney in Winston-Salem. Then I moved back to Valdese and went back to doing what I love the most. I work long days and weeks. I usually average about 75 hours per week and still go home and enjoy cooking for my family.

Annette had many strong influences on her life and career. I have learned a lot from many people over the years. I was inspired by my great-grandmother, America, and my grandmother, Hilda, who were both wonderful cooks. I learned by watching them and helping. Mrs. Betty Hammond taught me so much in her cooking class at Valdese Junior High. Denise Seagle and I were partners in cooking class, and we had a ball while we learned from Mrs. Hammond. Those are great memories.

In high school, Phyllis Garrison made me sit and listen to her, and I sometimes think I still need her to help me learn and listen better. Pearl Hildebran Carswell took me under her wing and taught me to be nicer and better with money and people and taught me how to set a table properly, something someone in the restaurant business surely needs to know. My dad, Larry Earp, who started the restaurant and still owns it, has been a real inspiration. He is an excellent businessman, has a strong character, and knows the best way to serve people and the community. I have always wanted to be like him. He named the restaurant after my great aunt Myra, and it has been a great family business ever since.

Over the years I have enjoyed creating my own food and perfecting it. I never really read a recipe but experimented until I felt each dish was right. I started out with salsa and pico and finally felt like I had mastered them after about ten years! I often try out new dishes or techniques on my hubby and daughters, but luckily they dont mind. In fact, my daughters say I should present food on Tik-Tok. That might be fun. Id love to make a cookbook someday, so thats something to look forward to.

Here I am after all these years still cooking new dishes and enjoying serving people, making their everyday meals and their special dinners, and hopefully bringing some joy and contentment to their lives.

Published September 2022

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