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Alabama Couple Creates ‘Pay What You Can’ Soul Food Restaurant

Alabama Couple Creates ‘Pay What You Can’ Soul Food Restaurant

Now, this is love!

An Alabama couple opened a soul food restaurant run solely by donations, encouraging customers to just “pay what they can,” Good News Network reports.

Drexell & Honeybee’s is a restaurant in downtown Brewton, Alabama, a small town near the Florida border. They serve the usual Southern dishes - fried chicken, cornbread, cobbler, and collard greens and the place is run by a kind couple, Freddie and Lisa Thomas-McMillan. But what makes this restaurant really special is the fact that you don’t have to pay for anything.

That’s right! The restaurant has no prices, no cash register, and Lisa and Freddie say they make absolutely no profit from it. The husband-wife duo decided they would open the restaurant simply as a way to give back to their community, investing their retirement funds into running the restaurant.

Lisa used to run a food bank and always opened her home to those in need. Even as a young girl, she found joy in a little girl who always shared her food at lunch. That lesson stuck with her through the years, and when she got a chance to pay it forward, she did, opening a restaurant focused on merely letting people know they are loved. 

“When my husband and I opened, we agreed to put a portion of our retirement back into the running of the restaurant. ‘Feed the Need’ is our mission statement," Lisa said. "Whatever needs people have if we can help them...we will. [What’s important is knowing customers leave] with a full stomach, a full heart, and the understanding that you are loved and worthy of love.” 

The menu at Drexell & Honeybee’s changes daily and diners are encouraged to leave whatever they can at a private booth near the entrance, even if it’s just a thank-you note. One hundred percent of donations go back into serving people food, and Freddie and Lisa say they plan to keep it that way, even during the pandemic when the business has been slow. 

“The end of June, we figured out a way to do to-go orders and keep everyone safe...It is working out very well, and we feel so proud to be able to do what we do, with COVID-19 affecting so many people," Lisa said. "As you can imagine, donations are down, but we will continue to try and be of service to all the people that come to our door."

To donate to the cause and support their efforts, visit the restaurant website

Thank you for all you’re doing, Freddie and Lisa!

Photo Courtesy of The Westside Gazette