In 1976, Mildred Cotton opened Mama Dip's Restaurant, named for the childhood nickname given to her by her siblings (her height and her long arms allowed her to "dip" all the way into the bottom of the rain barrel), as said on the website.
Born in Chatham County to Ed and Effie Edwards Cotton, Mama Dip first learned to cook by watching her family and neighbors use the "dump cooking" method of cooking by taste. While working as a family cook, and later at Carolina Coffee Shop and St. Andrews Hall, Mama Dip honed her craft, developing the recipes her restaurant would become so famous for. In 1957, she worked alongside her mother-in-law at a tiny take-out kitchen, where they made a reputation for turning out some of the best country cooking in town.
The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and offers a catering menu for outside events. They also sell some of their products, such as their barbeque sauce, cornbread mix, poppy seed dressing, vinegar-based barbeque sauce and a family cookbook.
Mildred Cotton passed away in 2018, but her daughter continues her legacy at the Chapel Hill restaurant. Mama Dip's can be contacted through their website, at https://mamadips.com/contact/.