Honey Bee’s Biscuits + Good Eats Fueled by Passion for Breakfast
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Mike Shadwick never thought he could make a career out of the grocery business, so he never tried. Although cooking was his passion, he instead pursued a career in sales, where he worked for more than ten years before leaving his job to research computer science. He was unemployed for about a year and a half and was thinking about what to do next if a conversation with his wife changed course.
“My wife and I were talking one day when she said to me, ‘Why don’t you just take the next job that is offered in the food business?’” Says Shadwick. “We knew people in restaurants so she told me to just beat them up and work in the kitchen. She told me it didn’t matter where it was – I should just start somewhere. The next day, my sister, the me worked at Imo in the Central West End and told me they were hiring delivery drivers. Here I was, switching from manager to Imo driver, but I figured why not? ”
Looking back on his journey to Honey Bees Biscuits + Good Eats (www.honeybeesbg.com), the food truck he owns with his wife Meredith, Shadwick realizes that it was only a matter of time before he ended up in the grocery store . Cooking has been a part of his life for as long as he can remember and goes back to one of his earliest memories of breakfast for his mother. As a three-year-old, what he considered to be breakfast wasn’t exactly edible, of course.
“I snuck into the kitchen one morning, cracked eggs in a bowl and scraped a spoonful of margarine into it, thinking I made your eggs,” laughs Shadwick. “For me it was always about breakfast.”
Although he always dreamed of what it would be like to cook professionally, he didn’t think he could do it in business. It wasn’t until this first shift at Imo that he saw that he could actually thrive in the industry. There he huddled and earned a reputation as a valuable employee. He rose and gained the respect of Nick Imo, who worked next to him in the restaurant.
Early last year, a friend who was the server at Winslow’s Table passed his information on to the owners, Michael and Tara Gallina, who were looking for kitchen help. Although he had never cooked on a line before, Shadwick entered the interview with a good attitude and willingness to learn. Impressed, the Gallinas brought him to his first shift on February 27, 2020. In less than a month, the restaurant was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although Shadwick’s experience with Winslow’s table was brief, it was formative and gave him the confidence to see himself as a restaurant professional. He returned to Imo to join the management team, but he still couldn’t get rid of the feeling of wanting to do something else. Speaking to his wife, it became clear that he should eat breakfast, especially cookies, and that it was time for him to finally start pursuing his dreams.
Together, the Shadwicks launched Honey Bee’s at Kirkwood Farmers’ Market last June without knowing what to expect. After selling about 200 cookies on their first outing, they realized they were up to something and quickly figured out how to expand their idea beyond the market stall. Within three weeks of their first outing, they bought a food truck and got to work expanding their vision.
The Honey Bee truck was launched this February and Shadwick continues to love the response. The brand continues to have a loyal following at the Kirkwood Farmers’ Market, where it parks on Saturdays and Sundays, and has also started hosting private and business events. Meanwhile, Shadwick keeps pushing himself, spending all of his free time researching new techniques and recipes and developing his skills – and while he’s busier than ever, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I feel like I’m where I should be,” says Shadwick. “We had this crazy catering gig a few weeks ago where we made food for three different shifts of employees in this store and signed up for 24 hours in two days. Even the next day, I was able to wake up immediately and jump into the kitchen . ready to go. It’s just so fun and incredibly rewarding. We’re lucky. ”
Shadwick took a moment from the biscuits to share his thoughts on the St. Louis food and beverage community, the joy of waking up early, and another special project he and his wife are cooking at the Kirkwood Farmers’ Market .
What do not many know about you?
I am very creative and have many of our rhymes and names for our various menu items. I’ve always enjoyed going to places that had different themed specials and fun names, and had a more creative approach to their menu. I try to make our food more fun by using my creativity to give customers the same experience.
Which daily ritual is non-negotiable for you?
Wake up early. I love to wake up before the sun comes up because I feel like I have privacy to focus on tasks that require more focus. I usually wake up at 3:30 or 4 in the morning
If you could have superpower what would it be?
What’s the most positive thing about food, wine, or cocktails that you have noticed in St. Louis in the past year?
The St. Louis food community was very friendly and supportive. St. Louis has a very competitive food scene and it is an honor to see our customers and supporters continue to show up for us.
Who’s Your St. Louis Food Crush?
There are so many, but some of my favorites are Macs Local Eats, Balkan Treat Box, Sando Shack, Beffa’s, and Imo’s.
Who is the only person featured on the St. Louis dining scene right now?
Tropical moose-shaved ice. My wife and I just bought this fantastic Kirkwood staple, and we’re going to be making some fun additions to their current menu.
Which ingredient is most representative of your personality?
Thyme is my favorite herb and flavor. It represents my personality well because it goes well with so many different dishes and taste profiles.
If you weren’t in the restaurant business what would you do?
I found the restaurant industry to do what I love to do, which is to cook. If that doesn’t work out, maybe I would be doing a job out of something else I enjoy doing, like playing video games or playing with my dog. If I hadn’t found this industry, I would probably still be in sales.
Name one ingredient that is never allowed in your restaurant.
What is your meeting point after work?
At home with our dogs. And when I don’t cook food, I eat it. We love discovering new local spots.
What is your guilty pleasure in eating or drinking?
Definitely s’mores or oreos with peanut butter.
What would be your last meal on earth?
Imo’s pizza (chicken, bacon, jalapeno, extra cheese, light sauce, sweet and spicy like the sauce, well done), a Mac’s cheeseburger and french fries and a s’more for dessert.
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