For the initial two a long time of its existence, Drexell and Honeybee’s restaurant founded by itself as a area where anybody could appear for a hot, property-cooked meal. Lisa Thomas-McMillan, alongside with her spouse, Freddie McMillan, and a staff of volunteers organized a Southern feast every single working day at the eatery on Lee Avenue in downtown Brewton.
Served cafeteria-style, the lunch offerings may well consist of oven-fried rooster, meatloaf, rooster pot pie, barbecued ribs and a host of aspect dishes like macaroni and cheese, cabbage and fried okra, plus yeast rolls and bread pudding.
Every single customer would decide on an entrée, two sides and a dessert, as perfectly as a glass of tea, then they’d sit down just like they could possibly in any other restaurant. But there were being no tickets sent to the desk, no income sign up in sight. As an alternative, on the way out, if they felt compelled to do so, diners could drop off a donation in a box surrounded by partitions for privateness. That’s how Lisa and Freddie insisted on running as they served about 100 foods for each day.
“You wouldn’t feel the folks who came from all over,” says Lisa. “They had examine about the restaurant and desired to donate.”
Their process worked well until finally COVID-19 modified issues in March of 2020. At that stage, the McMillans experienced to temporarily close their dining home to comply with a point out mandate. When they reopened for carryout only, with a plexiglass defend around the door and a donation box outdoors, Lisa swiftly recognized that just would not do.
“People could not be anonymous,” she says. “Some people today didn’t have anything at all to give and felt awkward. They would transform all-around a depart. So we built a new rule: We really don’t get donations from no one.”
This kindhearted, compassionate girl, a Brewton indigenous who has felt compelled to feed hungry individuals in her community since she proven a nonprofit food items pantry in 2000, eliminated the donation box completely. If another person desires to hand her an envelope or mail her a verify, which is a person thing. But she refuses to take cash from a purchaser when other shoppers are close to. The last point she desires to do is harm anyone’s feelings.
“Money is continue to not the object,” she claims.
In September, Drexell and Honeybee’s was dealt an additional blow when Hurricane Sally flooded the cafe with 13 inches of drinking water. “I could not feel it,” says Lisa. They shed all 3 of their refrigerators and almost everything in the pantry. After a thirty day period-extended cleanup and with support from the Brewton Lions Club, which replenished their provide of foodstuff, the cafe reopened on Oct. 6 and ongoing to present takeout lunches 3 times a 7 days.
In the meantime, Steve Harvey took see of what Lisa and Freddie were being doing in Brewton. He invited them to seem almost on the Nov. 25, 2020, episode of his “Steve on Watch” exhibit on Fb, where they spent a couple of minutes speaking about how Drexell and Honeybee’s had occur into being and what they had been by means of.
“People could possibly be poor, but they have delight,” Lisa informed him.
“Everybody requirements help at some point in lifetime,” reported Freddie.
The chat clearly show host then launched Cat Cora, very best known as the initially woman “Iron Chef” on Food stuff Community. Referring to Lisa and Freddie as “heroes” and talking of their “incredible determination,” she declared that she was donating $10,000 to Drexell and Honeybee’s. An clearly shocked Lisa burst into tears at that instant.
“Keep executing what you’re executing,” the superstar chef stated. “We all have to aid each other.”
She also promised to give 10 p.c of the pursuing month’s profits of her Home Bistro line of property-delivered connoisseur foods to the cafe. To top it off, they received a new commercial fridge from Real Production.
And now Maxamiliano Nealon, a Portland-based mostly singer-songwriter who’s in no way been to the restaurant, is supplying his very own fundraiser. Soon after reading through about Drexell and Honeybee’s and buying Lisa’s guide, “Living Fulfilled: The Infectious Joy of Serving Some others,” he was motivated to publish a track, “I Was Hungry (and You Fed Me).” “When I heard it, it brought tears to my eyes,” suggests Lisa. The track is out there to obtain for $1, which goes to the cafe.
These significant-profile donations will help sustain Drexell and Honeybee’s as they continue on to feed persons without having accepting cash in return. On March 26, the restaurant will celebrate its 3rd anniversary.
“We are crucial to this community,” claims Lisa. “I’m happy we’re there to fill in the gaps. To serve some others when they genuinely have to have you, it is the very best emotion in the planet.”
Drexell and Honeybee’s is found at 109 Lee St. in Brewton, Ala., and is open up Tuesday-Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. For additional facts, take a look at DrexellAndHoneybees.com/ or contact 251-727-2411.