Magnolia Living 2021 - 18

A Cut ABOVE

Mule Kick connects university,
community through dining experience

Text by Richard LEDBETTER | Photography by Steven OCHS

BUSINESS PARTNERS Christy Ouei and Burt
Adams are an interesting and unusual couple,
and together they run an interesting and unusual
restaurant.
Located on the edge of Magnolia's Southern
Arkansas University campus, they couldn't have
found a better place to build a connection between
the college and community. From their beginning in
June 2019, they intended to bridge the gap from the
school to the city.
" Sometimes North Jackson Street can feel like
it's 50 miles long rather than just two because of the
disconnect between the college and the community, "
Ouei says.
With an enthusiasm both evident and contagious,
Ouei says college kids are a large part of their work
crew, but they are also a passion project for her.
" Both my parents were educators, and I grew up
watching how they made a difference in students'
lives. My business is my classroom. My goal is to
take Millennials from pizza prep to professional. I
18 MAGNOLIA LIVING

2021

want to teach these kids how to function in life. You
take everyone where you find them, then teach what
you want them to know, " she says. " You have to
get on their level and let them know you have their
back. We're building an institution where young
people learn skills and self-development. "
Their target customers are folks in industry and
business.
" We provide opportunities for networking where
our server may be an engineering student and the
customer an engineer at Albemarle, " Ouei says. " We
do a lot of projects in conjunction with SAU. The
Art Department conducted a contest among students
to design our logo. It appears on mugs, shirts, hats
and much more. That helped provide a paying gig
for a young artist along with a portfolio for future
use. "
She hires Mule Kick staff for a good cultural fit
with their business rather than for technical skills.
" We test for that, and they'll probably go through
more interviews with me than they'll experience in



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