It was Caitlin Sullivan and Kacie Carter’s freshman year at the University of Colorado when the two noticed each other’s True Religion jeans in a philosophy class. Immediate friendship pursued. Now a couple of degrees, careers, and 10 years later, the two have hung up their designer jeans for cooking-ware.
The friends recently opened Echo Park’s newest, hippest and most delicious cafe, Honey Hi, which proudly features a menu full of unique, inspired and fresh food that draws inspiration from diverse cultures and nutritional disciplines. We’re talking smoothies with vegetables and adaptogens, broth, ghee, grass-fed meat and sprouted grain bowls. The kitchen is free of sugar, vegetable oil and gluten, and they use only the highest quality and pastured organic meats. “We wanted an entire menu that you could eat every single day and still feel great afterwards. We wanted to take all of the best things from the philosophies that have inspired us and make it a welcoming place for everyone,” says Kacie.
Restauranteering wasn’t always in the cards for the two, however. After college they ventured off separately following their own career paths. Caitlin went to Boulder and worked as a producer in advertising and Kacie to New York for a career as a high fashion stylist. Due to their stressful jobs they both simultaneously experienced a health crash and work burnout. Although both had grown up in healthy homes (Caitlin’s mom is a chef and Kacie’s mom an avid organic gardener) neither had been particularly interested in eating well. “We soon realized changing the way we were eating was the most powerful way to take care of ourselves,” explains Caitlin. The two dove into nutrition. “We became incredibly passionate about food and how it makes you feel.”
The girls decided it was time to make some life changes and moved to LA together. They quickly fell into a routine of cooking at home together, going to farmer’s markets and experimenting with different foods and diet protocols. Kacie even did stints as a private chef and became a holistic nutrition consultant. They wanted to share their passion with the community, which is exactly what they ended up creating with Honey Hi. Kacie adds, “It has given us the platform to express everything we love: from food and nutrition, to connecting with the community and local farmers, to design and art.”
Now, as young business owners they currently have a team of eight and are learning as they go. No strangers to 15 hour days, they arrive before their staff and leave after them, working six days a week. Caitlin handles the marketing, production and operations while Kacie is the culinary and nutrition director making sure the food meets their strict standards. “We have really taken the attitude that we are like students learning right now, rather than being frustrated that we don’t know how to do everything right off the bat,” says Caitlin.
And although they’re working hard, the beauty of opening a business with a friend is that sometimes it can feel like hardly working. “This morning we had a dance party to Mariah Carey while we opened!” admits Kacie.
From True Religions to Mariah Carey, girls will be girls, and the Honey Hi girls are enjoying every moment.
Lindsay DeLong is the Managing Editor of The Fullest. She has a pair of True Religions that have done absolutely nothing for her. Find her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on social media via @lindizzaster.