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

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
September 17, 2019
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.

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.”

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