NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT)- One woman's dream in has come true in Castle Hayne after help from a dying friend.
Brenda Nattell is now the proud owner of Brenda's Café on North College Road. Owning a restaurant has always been a dream of hers. That's why she couldn't believe it when her dying friend offered to help her purchase her own restaurant.
Ernie Vieira was dying of Pulmonary Fibrosis. He had met Nattell while she was working a previous job at a restaurant a couple years ago.
Nattell didn't want to accept her friend's incredibly generous offer.
"He said God left me here for a reason and you're the reason," Nattell explained.
Nattell said that Vieira did all he could to help her construct the business.
"He paid for most of it. Everything I couldn't get, he made sure I had," explained Nattell.
"I made him fight though," said Nattell. "I told him you're not leaving me. You're going to watch me do this. You gave me my dream. You're gonna watch me open the doors."
Vieira did watch Nattell open the doors to her restaurant in October. He died on December 15. Nattell said she has dedicated a special item on her menu to her friend.
"Every Friday I have prime rib because of Ernie," said Nattell.
She said that prime rib was Vieira's favorite meal. A picture of Nattell and Vieira is mounted on the wall of the restaurant.
"I miss him, I do. And I thank him very much for what he did," said Nattell. "I will succeed in this because of him. I won't let it fail."
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322 Shipyard Boulevard