Cia Carter was working Friday afternoon at the downtown location of Miss Carter’s Kitchen, her soul food and seafood place, when her nephew called with some news she didn’t quite believe at first.
Lamar Jackson was at her other takeout restaurant in West Baltimore. The Ravens quarterback was on the phone, telling her he was looking for banana pudding — but the kitchen didn’t have any. After thinking it was all a joke for a few moments, Carter realized it was true and headed out to meet him.
At first, "I was so nervous, I couldn’t start my car,” the 34-year-old said in an interview Saturday.
While there was no banana pudding, the men found plenty else to eat. The group spent about $500, Carter said. They bought a variety of Alfredo dishes — pasta with lamb chops, with chicken, with steak and shrimp — plus turkey wings, collard greens, macaroni and cheese and the surf and turf burger, which is topped with shrimp and crab.
Carter, a Sandtown native, said she started cooking as a young girl with her mother and grandmother, first chopping vegetables before she was allowed to take on bigger tasks.
Later, she attended culinary school. Before opening her first restaurant on North Liberty Street in 2017, she cooked from home, delivering the food to customers.
In 2018, she opened the West Baltimore location of Miss Carter’s Kitchen that the Ravens visited Friday. In the next few months, Carter plans to debut a sit-down restaurant in the downtown area.
As fans awaited the Ravens playoff game against the Tennessee Titans on Saturday, Carter’s Instagram post about the visit — complete with a photo of her with Jackson — garnered more than 10,000 likes. She was scheduled to appear on the local evening news.
She said Jackson couldn’t stay long enough Friday for her to make a batch of pudding, but told her he would return soon.
“I think now with all the exposure, I’m going to have to keep banana pudding” on the menu, she said.