Brewton, a small South Alabama town with a population of just over 5,000 people, is the home of Drexell & Honeybee’s — a restaurant that operates solely on donations, charging customers no price for their meals.
The founders of the unique restaurant, Fred and Lisa McMillan, were featured on NBC’s “Today” show to share their story, which aired Monday morning.
“I just wanted to do something to show people that money does not make the world go round,” said Lisa.
Prior to opening the restaurant, Lisa drove door-to-door delivering meals for over a decade.
“Over a 100 day. A lot of them went to elderly people who were struggling,” she said. “Everybody should have a right to be able to go into a restaurant and have a meal and not worry about paying.”
Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! Drexell & Honeybee's Donations Only Restaurant in Alabama is keeping Dr. King’s legacy of service alive with a simple motto: “We feed the need.” @ReporterBlayne has the story. pic.twitter.com/Rt0to9dKjP
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) January 15, 2024
To make the restaurant a reality, the couple spent half of their retirement savings — a move which many people close to them called crazy.
“People were telling us ‘How are y’all going to open a restaurant where people don’t pay when the ones that are charging people are going out of business?'”
Lisa also said that she has a very simple process for picking out each day’s menu.
“That depends on what’s on sale at the grocery store.”
Lisa revealed that her reason for opening the restaurant was deeply personal.
“I was pregnant and had no food,” she said. “Somebody was barbequing and I smelled it and just started crying because I didn’t have anything to eat.”
“I don’t want anyone to go through that.”
Drexell & Honeybee’s first opened its doors in 2016. The restaurant, staffed by volunteers, serves lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays. According to Newsweek, the restaurant generates just $110 a day.
Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.