There is something so humble about beginnings. I think it's the innocence of determination without the guarentee of success. There is hopefulness and ambition mixed with sweat and magic. It's going after what you really want in the world, without knowing if it will get you anywhere. Doing it anyways. Trying it anyways. Pushing forward any fucking ways.
That, my friends, is what my dear friend Caitlin Sullivan did. She used to work as a producer in advertising, but wasn't feeling fulfilled in what she was creating. Rather than sticking in her comfort zone and clinging to the steady paycheck, she decided to leap. She listened to the voice inside that whispered that "this" wasn't it, and went after her dreams.
Caitlin paired up with one of her best friends from college (Kacie Carter, who is equally amazing, adorable, and all things fantastic) and decided to open a "radically inclusive" little cafe. It's health focused, nutrient-dense, and caters to meat-eaters and vegans alike. They are smart. They are beautiful. And they are killing the east LA food scene. Can you tell I have a serious case of friend pride?
(Not to mention they were written up in the NY Times within months of opening!)
While this success story is one that tugs on all my heart strings, they are not only providing a place to eat that is thoughtful, delicious, and next-level nutritious but they are building a much larger picture than what you see.
At first glance, Honey Hi is a cute little cafe in Echo Park. It's humble, it's small, and it's full of exciting healthy delights. But after some casual conversation, I uncovered that this wasn't all about opening a cafe. Instead it was about creating a platform for change. The adorable owners wanted to build community and educate people on what they are putting in their bodies. THANK GOD FOR GOOD HUMANS. And while this in itself is amazing, the most surprising take away I had was that they are also changing the way that organic food is supplied to small businesses.
This. Is. Huge.
After several attempts to get organic produce from food purveyors they were hit with a resounding "no" as they didn't have a large enough business to consume 70 pounds of carrots (which is the smallest ratio you can buy). Think about it. You're a small business just starting out and you want to feed your clients what you believe in (organic). But you can't do it without a hefty price tag for more food than you can consume! There is clearly a flaw in the system. In theory, they were forced to either use pesticide-laden produce in their nutritious cafe or waste tens of pounds of produce daily. Lose, lose situation. This is something that all our small restaurants and cafes are up against. Did you realize that?! I didn't.
Because they are who they are (strong, resilient, and determined) they managed to convince the food purveyors of Erewhon to split the large boxes for them. Now they can get 35 pounds of produce instead of 70 pounds - something much more viable for their "mom + pop style shop". It's now not only available to them, but to any small business that opens in the Los Angeles area.
Again. This. Is. Huge.
Behind the curtains, there is always a host of complications as to why or why not a particular place isn't choosing organic produce. Caitlin and Kacie are perhaps changing the narrative for those that choose to listen.
If you ever find yourself in Echo Park, do me a favor and say hello to the cuties in Honey Hi. There are guaranteed to be behind the counter with their beautiful bright eyes and warm open arms. I'm a sucker for most things on their menu, but the indian kitchari particularly gets me. I know none of you are surprised by that though.