At Drexell & Honeybees the motto is "We Feed The Need."

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
September 17, 2019
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Credit: Freddie McMillan

When you arrive to 109 Lee Street in Brewton, Alabama you'll see what appears to be a normal restaurant. But Drexell & Honeybees is anything but average.

Located a bit North of Florida's panhandle, the eatery is donation-only for all who dine there. With a motto of "We Feed The Need," the restaurant is open for lunch Tuesday through Friday with the goal of providing a delicious, hot meal to all who enter.

Founded by Lisa Thomas-McMillan and Freddie McMillan, the husband-and-wife duo have run the restaurant since 2018 with a staff made up entirely of volunteers. Kellie B. Gormly profiled the establishment in a recent Washington Post article, noting that the anonymous donation box sometimes gets the welcome surprise of a $500 or even $1,000 check, in addition to the frequent offerings of $5. Some fans even drop off free produce for the restaurant to use by the entrance. On any given day, diners at Drexell & Honeybees can expect fare like macaroni and cheese, fresh greens, squash, and peach cobbler, which the owners begin preparing at 5:00 a.m.

Credit: Carolyn Haubein Hart

Helping others, of course, serves as a greater gift than any money could provide for the McMillans and their staff. Beyond monetary offerings, the donation box features some heartfelt notes that remind Thomas-McMillan of the restaurant's greater purpose: "Today I wasn't able to eat and you guys helped me," reads one such message. "Thank you for being a blessing to this town / community / and to me."

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A blend of elderly and youth, travelers and regulars, the restaurant is a community stronghold in a town of roughly 5,5000 residents. "Regardless of who you are, you're welcome," Freddie McMillan told the Washington Post. "It's everyone's restaurant."