The Alexanders took over Hattie's from its second owners 10 years ago and said maintaining both the quality of the food and the restaurant's traditional dining atmosphere were most important.
"It really is the same recipe Miss Hattie used from the beginning and we want to make sure everything tastes the same everytime you make it. We've added a few new items but have stayed true to the Hattie's tradition," said Alexander. "Hatties has always been accessible to everyone and we strive very hard to keep the prices down, try to use local food and farms."
Another Hattie's mainstay has been charitable contributions and a strong community presence.
"Hattie was very big on charitable contributions and we continue to do so in her name and her spirit," said Alexander.
When Hattie's first opened, it was open 24 hours a day because of the "gambling, speakeasies and smoky jazz clubs" of the '30s and '40s. It moved to its current location at 45 Phila Street in 1968 and established itself as a destination by providing good southern food in a family atmosphere, spearheaded by a woman known for her generosity, sense of humor and quality of treating everyone the same.
Co-owning Hattie's has been like a childhood dream come true, said Alexander, and something she's proud to carry on.
"I knew Miss Hattie but I never worked for her. I grew up here so I remember fondly going to dinner at Hattie's. I just loved the restaurant, there's something about it that's very special. It's very unique and has a really warm feeling about it," said Alexander.
For more information about Hattie's and Hattie's Chicken Shack, visit www.hattiesrestaurant.com.