A legacy of southern hospitality

Published 6:00 am Saturday, June 29, 2024

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Ann Judah, the owner of Camellia City Bakery, has been named the Greenville Advocate Hero of the Week, celebrating her dedication to the community and the legacy she continues in memory of her late husband, Ozzie.

Initially, the couple operated a very successful fine dining restaurant in Dothan, The Red Owl Plantation, but relocated to Greenville to be closer to their family. 

“We came here to see our daughter and her family. We had just had our first grandchild,” Ann explained. “After coming here, my husband just absolutely loved it.”

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The transition to Greenville led the couple to open Camellia City Bakery, a popular downtown lunch spot known for its homemade pimento cheese and chicken salad.

“They’re old family recipes, my husband’s grandmother’s recipes,” Ann said. “We also do lobster bisque but that one is Ozzie’s recipe.”

Ozzie passed away in 2014, and Ann and her daughter, Leanne, took a brief hiatus.

“Leanne and I shut this place down for a while and just had to gather our beings,” Ann said. “But we decided that this is what Ozzie loved. This is what Ozzie always wanted, and this is what I’m trying desperately to continue.”

She emphasizes the importance of quality and customer service. 

“Our main concern is that we have good quality food,” Judah stated. “Our second concern is that we have good customer service but the most important thing to us, is that we want people to be able to come into the bakery and laugh and relax and feel like they matter, because they do.”

Cynthia Lowe, a regular customer, praised Judah’s hospitality.

“When I started working at River Region, she was just right across the street, so I would pop over there and get lunch,” Lowe said. “I am not from Greenville, so the one thing that I loved about Miss Ann is that she immediately takes everybody in and it’s like she has just always known me.”

Rebecca Marsh, another frequent visitor, shared her appreciation for her favorite lunch destination.

“I eat there all the time. I love Miss Ann,” Marsh said. “She is always very sweet, very friendly, just as kind as she can be.”

Camellia City Bakery continues to be a beloved spot in Greenville, offering a range of lunch options and sweets while also catering to local events.

“Gods blessed this little place hand over fist,” Judah said. “Oz loved the people of this town, the same as I do and I’ve just never been around people that are more caring, that show you that care and that concern.”