Gift The Plannerz Place

The Plannerz Place Eatery has an all-you-can-eat Mother's Day Italian Buffet, 5/12 from 1 to 5 p.m. at Northside Marketplace. Get tickets now. Seating is limited.

The New Plannerz Place Eatery is all about a Mama

The new eatery, owned by “Mama T” (Tonya Essick) is a space where mothers and daughters can eat delicious food (if they aren’t too busy shopping). 

By Liv Ream

Sunday, May 12, 2024, The Plannerz Place Eatery at Northside Marketplace is hosting a Mother’s Day Italian Buffet, from 1 to 5 p.m. Treat your mom to traditional dishes of Italy this Mother’s Day.  But, hurry and get your tickets, because seating is limited.

Home of the "rotating menu," The Plannerz Place Eatery rotates its menu each week, featuring Southern-Style Soul Food.

For co-owner of The Plannerz Place, Mama T, Mother’s Day serves as a day to remember her own mother’s strong example, “My favorite memory about my mom is her selfless and unselfish heart," she said. 


"My mom always put her children first and made sure our needs were met. She was the type of mother who would go without if she had to, to make sure her children did not have to go without,” Mama T, or Tonya Essick, said.


As for her mother’s preferred gift, Mama T recalls she didn’t have one, “Mom never required anything in return from us. She was the most gracious receiver of gifts no matter the size. Mom would be happy with a simple, ‘Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday, or happy Mother’s Day- whatever the occasion. She really loved her children unconditionally.”


Essick has since become the matriarch of her family, running The Plannerz Place Eatery with her own daughters, WyTerria Thornton and Carolyn Clay.


Essick credits her father for recognizing her talent in the kitchen.  After assigning breakfast responsibilities to a 6-year-old Tonya, her father insisted they test her skills against the ladies at their church.


Her trajectory remained upward, learning kitchen prep at 10, catering her first wedding at 13, all the while building herself a reputation as a hardworking businesswoman, (eventually) mother, and party-planner. 


The family-business started in Essick’s kitchen in the winter of 2019. Astonishingly, despite a global pandemic, the business would thrive, resulting in the Northside Market location opening in March 2024. The space also holds Mama T's Seasonings and Spices, a line of proprietary blends created by Mama T.


I visited The Plannerz Place to write this article, and to try their Mac n Cheese. My partner Sam requests that I always try a menu’s mac to report back my findings. In this case, it was not dry or bland (our usual concern with mac) and secured a solid rating. 


Straying from their usual rotating menu of soul food, Mama T opted for an Italian menu this Mother’s Day, “because it’s served in a family-style manner, creating a wonderful atmosphere for a family gathering. It offers delicious comfort food that’s reminiscent of home-cooked meals made by moms everywhere.”


Tickets to the buffet are $40 and are not available to children under the age of 13. Sorry kids! It’s not called Children’s Day, is it?


WyTerria Thornton's goal for celebrating Mother’s Day with Mama T is sure to be reflected in their upcoming event, “Our deepest desire is for our mom to keep a calm and peaceful mind that radiates positivity,” she said.


Check out The Plannerz Place Eatery and their rotating menu of soul food on their website or here on Facebook or Instagram. You’ll definitely want to scope out their menu that rotates weekly and features some mighty tasty soul food like soul rolls, wings, meatloaf and greens. If that sounds like your kind of lunch, check NOMZ too. They have a wide variety of healthy options as well, and both can be enjoyed in the Northside Marketplace restaurant seating.

(Right top) Mama T, Tonya Essick, showing off her new Northside Marketplace spice rack. (Right middle) Carolyn Clay, co owner of The Plannerz Place Eatery and (Right bottom) her sister and co-owner WyTerria Thornton. Photos courtesy of The Plannerz Place Eatery.

To reach content author Liv Ream,  email her here.

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