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Speciality eatery samples Philadelphia
philly outside
Janice Dotson stands outside her A Taste of Philly sandwich shop on E.G. Miles Parkway.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, but now living in Liberty County, Janice Dotson and her family have recently opened A Taste of Philly.
Dotson officially opened her restaurant Jan. 15, but the idea has been in the works for three years.
“It actually came from my sister,” Dotson said.
She remembers sitting on the porch in Philadelphia with her sister, eating Italian ice.  Her sister was the one who thought that it would be good to have in Georgia.
In addition to the Italian ice, A Taste of Philly sells hoagies.  
Dotson is dedicated to making sure the food in her shop is original. She explained that there is a distinct difference between a ‘sub’ and an authentic Italian hoagie and her sandwiches have the real taste of a Philadelphia Italian hoagie.
The Italian ice served is made the same way the Italians in the 1920s and ’30s used to in Philadelphia. Dotson said the unique taste originated when the Italians would scrape the ice to a smooth consistency.
The restaurant also serves original south Philly pretzels.
The shop is for everyone but is drawing Philadelphia natives and or those especially fond of the city.
Dotson enjoys swapping stories with the Philly natives she meets in her shop.  
She enjoys “bringing a little bit of home to some people.”
Since Dotson also works as an obstetrical technician at Winn Army Community Hospital, she keeps the shop running with the help of her husband, Bobby Dotson, daughter and son-in-law, Curtis and Quiana Duncan, and son, Dwayne Dotson.
“Keeping it in the family is important,” Dotson said.
She gives her family from Philadelphia credit for encouraging her and giving her advice in the planning phases of the restaurant.
Dotson’s pastor, Bishop Raymond Napper, has also been key support.
Besides the dedication service he officiated when the shop opened, Napper also helped Dotson with the legalities needed to set up the restaurant.
“My pastor encouraged me a lot,” Dotson said.
She plans to have mural painting of downtown Philadelphia during the 1980s and ’90s on the back wall.  She would also like to share the history of city with a display, educating customers on some famous features of Philadelphia, including the Liberty Bell and the first American flag made by Betsy Ross.
A Taste of Philly will have its grand opening next month and Dotson’s family from Philadelphia “can’t wait to get here.”
The public can also look forward to the long-awaited Philly cheese steak in a couple months.
The restaurant is in Dedication Square Plaza, 933 E. G. Miles Parkway, and is opened Monday through Saturday 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m.  For more information, call 369-3343.
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