Owning a restaurant isn’t for everyone, but for Michaila Cowles…it’s everything.
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.
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...retired in 2017 from a life of work, mostly in education. I decided it was time to stop commuting and stay at home a while. Foothills Faces is meant 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..