Pete Henderson tried and tried to flip those eggs that Eddie Owens asked him to do—without breaking them.
“Eddie gave me a dozen eggs, and he said, ‘Have you ever flipped an egg before?’ And I said, ‘Well, no,’ Henderson recalled. “He said, ‘I want to see how many of these eggs you can flip without a spatula. That’s the first part of being a good cook. That’s the first job you’ll ever do is flip these eggs.”
Henderson said he broke every egg. Eddie gave him another dozen, and he broke all of those eggs, too. “So after the third dozen, I might have flipped maybe two, but I was onto something, and Eddie told me, ‘I wasn’t worried about the ones that you didn’t do, I was just worried about you not giving up not getting any.’”
Henderson said he learned valuable lessons from this situation at the iconic Eddie’s Restaurant on Wylie Avenue.
Not bad for a 13-year-old.
Over 40 years later, the Pittsburgh native has taken those lessons everywhere he’s gone.
“Since then, that’s always been my battle cry, just to keep going,” Henderson said. “It doesn’t matter how much you get, but being here and being productive to give people good food, that’s what’s important to me.”
Henderson now runs Gabriella’s, an eatery at 301 E. Carson St. on the South Side. Gabriella’s is a longtime fixture, named after the daughter of the building’s owner, Drew Ziccardi. Many of the restaurant’s menu items, such as traditional Reuben and Italian sandwiches, Alwfredo pasta, and Greek omelets, are still being served. Henderson adds his own daily specials and when weather permits, takes to the grill on the sidewalk, smoke filling the South Side air.