Welcome to THE EXPERIENCE, a series in which we profile all the coolest locations we’ve been frequenting. This month features the owners behind the immaculately designed and health-conscious Honey Hi, Echo Park’s answer to feel-good food that’s also good for you.
Tell us a little about who you are and what you do.
Kacie Carter: I’m a holistic nutritionist, chef, cat lady and 1/2 of the Honey Hi duo.
Caitlin Sullivan: Co-owner and operations director @honeyhi. Makes a mean smoothie!
What is the inspiration behind the name Honey Hi?
KC: My friends and I are always calling each other “honey”. We love that it’s a friendly greeting that implies a sense of belonging and endearing affection.
CS: Honey Hi’s “thing” is that it’s welcoming t0 people of all backgrounds and nutritional disciplines, so we wanted the name to reflect the warm and friendly greeting we want to give to everyone that comes through the doors.
Why did you choose Echo Park as the location?
KC: We have both lived in Echo Park for over 4 years, and we felt like the kind of deeply nutritious, non-dogmatic food that is actually good for you didn’t exist yet around here, so we decided to start making it ourselves!
CS: It’s our home! Our community! We love it here and just wanted to bring more healthful, delicious options to the hood.
Did you design and decorate the space yourselves?
KC: We worked with Caitlin’s Dad, who is a contractor and designer based in NYC, on designing the space. He had a lot of the materials fabricated in Brooklyn and shipped them out in a pod. He flew out here a few times and we helped him staple everything to the walls. This space is truly a family affair and dear to our hearts.
CS: Heck yes! As Kacie mentioned, my Dad designed the front of house space, and the decorations are literally all our things from our own living rooms at home, which are now sort of bare [laughs]. It’s truly a little piece of us.
Describe the vibe of Honey Hi in three words:
KC: inclusive, playful, deeply nutritious. [Laughs] sorry, that’s four!
How do you start your day?
KC: I used to have a much more elaborate morning routine before starting the restaurant. Nowadays, I’ve simplified a lot. I do ashtanga yoga most mornings before work, which means I drag myself out of bed at 5:30 a.m. to fit my practice in before opening the restaurant. My practice truly keeps me sane! If I’m lucky, I’ll make an herbal coffee with some adaptogens, collagen and healthy fats before I get to Honey Hi. On the days I don’t go to yoga, I try to meditate for 20 minutes- but to be perfectly honest, there’s plenty of times I just grab my phone and scroll mindlessly in bed until the last minute. We’re all doing our best!
CS: These days, I rarely have time to meditate in the morning like I want to – but I always take a moment to count my lucky stars that I get to do my dream job with my best friend. Then I CHUG water. That’s the routine!
What’s the one healthy action everyone should incorporate into their daily routine?
KC: Try to make your meals predominantly vegetables!
CS: Move your dang bod! Side note: this action is actually for your brain. i.e., shake your sillies out and/or wiggle your worries away.
What’s the one thing you won’t eat?
KC: Any food in a package that never goes bad.
CS: Fast food, (save for In ’N Out fries, for obvious reasons).
What does the word ‘balance’ mean to you?
KC: To me, balance is about being a part of the world and not isolated from it or “above” it. I have some really strong principles and practices that guide me, but at the end of the day, I celebrate participating in our culture and do my best to navigate it according to my body and my values. This changes all the time and I constantly check in with myself to determine what’s best for me at the moment.
CS: Being a part of the world. Mental health is #1 for me, which often times requires several of our cassava flour chocolate chip cookies and a good old fashioned burger.
It’s your day off – what are you doing and who are you doing it with?
KC: Ha! Usually, I’m running errands for the restaurant, but if I can squeeze it in, a hike and dinner with friends, that’s a perfect day. Oh and I usually stop by Erewhon for lunch.
CS: Well these days, our days off mean office work and catching up on emails and laundry- GLAM! But on those days I always sneak a hike in. Gotta move the dang bod, remember!
Favorite restaurants in LA right now?
KC: Dune in Atwater has and always will be my favorite eastside jam. I love Cookbook for quick to-go snacks and seasonal produce, Bestia for special occasions. Tsubaki in Echo Park is brilliant.
CS: BAROO has a piece of my soul. I get choked up just thinking about it. I think it’s a remarkably honest and beautiful and love-filled place. Speranza will forever be one of my favorite places to go. It feels like all the best parts of LA and simultaneously reminds me of NY. I love all the new, incredible places opening up in LA, but it feels important to haunt the old favorites too.
Pressed juice or coffee?
KC: Sadly coffee and I aren’t friends, so I’ll go juice, although I’m more of a smoothie kind of gal.
CS: Juice! Our friend Byron at Living Color Juice has just concocted the most amazing thing, a probiotic pressed juice. It’s green juice with kombucha starter and it’s gonna change the world. Mark my words!
What are you currently addicted to?
KC: Chaga mushroom and eating our raw cookie dough literally every single day, [but] trying to quit that last one.
CS: Our gluten-free cassava flour cookies… it’s an epidemic.
Your go-to beauty product?
KC: My friend Gloria Noto is a makeup artist, and she hand-mixes her own line of botanical skincare. I am obsessed with her Deep Serum and Rooted Oil.
CS: Coconut oil! It’s my makeup remover, moisturizer, lip balm and fave smoothie add in.
Leave us with some inspiration, closing thoughts or advice.
KC: Never in a million years did I think I would be running a restaurant someday, I simply have a passion for good food and a deep internal drive to help others, and I knew I had to do something with it. You will never feel like you know enough, that you’re completely ready, or that you’re sufficiently “qualified” to take the leap into your wildest dreams, you’ve just gotta jump and be prepared to work hard. It’s worth it. Honey Hi is by far the most gratifying thing I’ve ever done. It helps to have your best friend alongside you as well.
CS: Honey Hi’s thing is all about radical inclusivity, and it doesn’t just apply to health food. Especially right now, we need more inclusion of ideas, understanding, and love.