Kizzy Hatcher is having problems with the potato salad.
"People say it tastes just like my mom's but it isn't as smooth as hers," chuckles Hatcher. "When I was a kid, my hands would get sore from stirring and stirring that salad. Even today I still get lumps, but I'm working on it."
In 2007, Hatcher and her mother, Laurel Turner -- who moved here after Hurricane Katrina -- opened up the Taste of New Orleans Café, with Turner doing most of the cooking.
But last July, Turner lost a long battle with cancer, but not before making her daughter promise to keep the restaurant open.
"We had a big argument over [keeping it open]," laughs Hatcher. "I just decided that I had to honor her by keeping it open."
The restaurant closed in March 2009 when Turner became too ill to continue. But on Jan. 14, Hatcher reopened the spot, now called Laurel's Taste of New Orleans, serving the same recipes like gumbo and jambalaya that her mother cooked.
Not only is the old location open, Hatcher says she has been in talks with a Strip District market to open a location to attract lunch crowds. Still, she says, "it's hard to do it without her."
"But people love her food and I'm glad we're able to keep it going."
514 Main St., East Pittsburgh. 412-823-9076 or www.tonocafe.com. Open Wednesday–Saturday 3-8 p.m.