Michaila started running a bakery in Lake Lure (also called Huckleberry’s) while in high school and at age 16 she could smell success. She enrolled in Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte concentrating in several disciplines including culinary arts, food service, hospitality & tourism, and bakery & pastry. Michaila finished a six-year program in four…and that doesn’t surprise me one bit. All of that added to her already solid experience with her own bakery and on New Year’s Eve 2014 she opened the current Huckleberry’s.
Michaila wears all the hats in the business but she’s not alone. A staff of nearly 15 takes care of running the restaurant open seven days a week. Her family is also involved; her mom handles marketing, sister helps everywhere, and dad even designed and built the woodstove that cooks all the wood-fired specialties. She says she has the best staff and keeping a good staff is one of the challenges for any business owner.
Owning a restaurant isn’t for everyone, but for Michaila it’s everything. She enjoys being her own boss but it has its downfalls including the long hours. Michaila wears all hats and some days floats between front of house duties and kitchen work. “Some days I don’t have a set job, other days I’m dedicated to the chef whites and am working on the line. Some days I get to dress like the girls and wait tables, and there are days I’m staying late washing dishes. It’s all good.”
She does offer a bit of advice to anyone thinking of starting a business like hers…try it first! It’s not an easy life. In fact it’s hard. Long hours, every day, all year. It takes a lot to open a restaurant and even more to keep it going. Huckleberry’s is successful for several reasons including Michaila’s drive and hard work and the dedication of her staff. Of course having great food helps!
More to Know: Huckleberry’s is open seven days a week and is located at 62 North Trade Street (the main drag) in downtown Tryon. 828/ 436-0025. The restaurant seats about 120 counting indoor and outdoor patio seating. Boots & breeches are always welcome and dogs can join their people parents on the patio. Beer and wine are available now and a new full bar will have a grand opening on May 5 with 19 North Carolina distilleries offering tastings. In fact, it’s going to be a big celebration with a small section of Trade Street closed for a block party featuring craft vendors, two live bands, and food. Check the website for more info at www.huckleberrystryon.com.
The spelling of Michaila is itself an interesting story. She says she was born during a hailstorm and that’s how the name came about. You’ll need to ask her yourself if this is true.
Click on the pictures below to enlarge.
With the help and love of his parents, six siblings, friends, and his faith – Joseph moved ahead. Nothing is easy as I observed how everything we don’t even think about becomes a challenge for Joseph. Finding a way to support a fork, drinking coffee through a straw, needing a bit of help here and there. He takes it in stride. His humor helps. He is amazing.
Joseph was able to go back to college and finish his bachelor’s degree at Belmont Abbey and just recently was awarded his master’s in data analytics from Southern New Hampshire University.
Joseph puts things in perspective this way, “Every single person has at least one big cross that they carry through their life. Most of these crosses are invisible and no one notices and they carry it alone. For me, it’s visible. It’s one of those things that you allow to either make you or break you. It’s not in my nature to give up or sit idle.”
Writing has been an interest of Joseph’s for much of his life. He grew up with a literary family (both of his parents are educators) and they encouraged him to write along with teachers. Joseph sees J.R.R. Tolkien’s work as another inspiration and he gets a lot of positive feedback from social media. In fact, Facebook friends started commenting on his occasional literary posts wanting more. So finally Joseph posed the question, “Who would actually buy a book of my writings?” The answers started flowing in and that was enough of a rush to get Joseph Letterio to finally make it happen.
“I hear a lot of people say they would like to write. I say what’s holding you back? You have to recognize that nothing is ever going to be perfect in this world. And if you wait for something to be perfect, you’re never going to do anything. You need to brace a little bit of humility, say I have something to offer, and share it because that’s what the world needs.”
Well, Joseph is about as perfect of a man as I’ve ever met. He is an inspiring person to be around and should offer hope to anyone struggling with writing or with life.
More to know:
Musings of a Wannabe Renaissance Man by Joseph Letterio can be ordered from Amazon. Joseph is developing a YouTube channel to highlight read-alouds and through this and his writings, he hopes to inspire others. Joseph is already at work on his second book. Letterio, is his pen name, which also happens to be his middle name. There’s a good story there, but we’re out of room.
Listen and watch as Joseph reads a couple of selections from
Musings of a Wannabe Renaissance Man.
More to Know:
Martha’s Amish Bakery & Sandwich Shoppe is located in the Green Greek Community at 6431 Highway 9 South just a stone’s throw from the blinking light at the corner of Landrum Road and Highway 9. They’re open Wednesday through Saturday for early morning snacks, tasty lunch sandwiches, coffee, and more. Check them out on Facebook. Phone: 828/ 863-4643.
I've started setting up my first rounds of interviews and plan to post the first of these within the next few days. By the end of March I'll be well underway.
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Is starting out retirement with this new endeavor - to bring you short snippets of life through photography, videography, and audio recordings of some of the wonderful people and places of the Carolina Foothills..