MEMPHIS, Tenn. — This week’s story starts at the Cupboard, a popular restaurant on Union Avenue in Memphis. 

Steve Childress played a major part in building this restaurant, but now he’s going through some tough times. That’s where our playmaker, Brother Franco Taylor comes in.

“Steve Childress, I’ve known him for maybe 30 years,” Brother Franco said. “I’ve had restaurants, I’ve had all natural bakeries, vegan counters, and he’s built them out, drawn the blueprints for whatever we did, he’s done it all for all of those years.  I know many other restaurants that he’s done the same thing for.”

Now, Steve isn’t able to build.

“He’s been battling to save his home, taxes and so forth.  His wife died, his son died and he’s had about eight or nine strokes, but he’s still making it happen.”

Franco has great memories with Steve, but one in particular stands out.

“2001 there was a freeze in Memphis, and you couldn’t even get in and out of downtown,” Brother Franco said. “His truck broke down and we were trying to get finished to open out our restaurant. He would ride a bicycle with two by fours and tools.  He rode back and forth till he got all that he needed to build the last wall, so we could open up the next Monday.”

Now, that’s dedication, and it’s time to Pass It On.

“I’ve got three hundred dollars from News Channel 3 plus seven hundred dollars from our anonymous donors. There’s a thousand dollars,” Tim said.

“This will make him smile,” Brother Franco told us.

Steve is meeting Franco for lunch at the Cupboard, but he doesn’t know about our big surprise. Moments later, we meet Steve.

We don’t waste any time. Franco counts out the money, “three hundred from News Channel 3 WREG and there’s another 700 from an anonymous donor.”

Steve can’t believe it. “Thank you, thank you,” Steve said. “I’ve known him for a long time.” 

The strokes have affected Steve’s speech, but they haven’t affected his memory of the work he’s done and those he loves.

“I personally built all of that, Steve said. “This family… part of me for a long time.”

The cupboard owner, Charles Cavallo treats Steve like family.

“He was very instrumental with me getting the cupboard, 33 years ago,” Charles said. The two have known each other for decades and Steve has eaten at the Cupboard for over 25 years.

Steve Childress is the man who built restaurants, forged friendships, and knows good food when he tastes it.