Wall-to-wall wood paneling and cheerful decorations lend the Honey Hole, Wewahitchka’s newest restaurant, a friendly hometown vibe — an atmosphere that took owners Brenda Taylor and Donny Arnold three years to piece together.
“We’ve been working on it for three years, so that’s been a bit of an ordeal, because the building’s old is mostly why,” Brenda Taylor said. “We had to keep up with old codes, and then there were new codes, but that part of it is done now, thank the Lord.”
After opening a little less than a month ago, the Honey Hole has cultivated a menu they feel the town can be proud of.
According to Executive Chef Chrisopher Rhames, the food, which mostly draws on ideas and recipes from the Taylors, has been tailored to fit the tastes and needs of the town.
“For lunch, we’re trying to make it quick, simple and easy for bank tellers, road workers, people who only have about 30 minutes, so they can just come in here, grab something and go,” he said. “Dinner is more of a sit down, kind of country, kind of seafood situation — pretty much what you can get going over to Panama, but without having to drive.”
Rhanes, who was born and raised in Wewahitchka, has worked in the restaurant industry for 17 years, attending culinary school in Jacksonville, and working in restaurants across the state.
But Rhanes said that no matter how far he ends up from home, Wewa always seems to call him back.
“I have worked anywhere from Panama, Jacksonville and Fort Lauderdale, and Wewa’s home…” he said. “I want to try to help give the town a nice sit down restaurant, good food, good quality, consistency — something to be able to enjoy without having to drive 30 minutes to an hour just to go out to eat.”
Rhanes said he hopes to put his expertise to good use in the town, helping to create a business that will be enduring in a town where few mom-and-pop food establishments have stood the test of time.
The Taylors, who are originally from Panama City, came to Wewahitchka a decade ago hoping to escape to a lifestyle that was a little quieter and more relaxed.
Now, they hope the restaurant will help cement their legacy in the community.
“Donny wanted the restaurant, my other half. He’s been wanting a restaurant for a while,” said Brenda Taylor..” And he wants it for our grandkids and their kids, hopefully, one day, if it’s open that long as we hope it will be.”
That vision is clear right down to the business’s name, which Brenda Taylor said is an homage to the town they now call home.
“We live here in Wewa, but we’re from Panama — both of us are… we wanted to get away from Panama. We had a bunch of fishing boats, and we were just trying to get away from all the fishermen and all their problems, and (my husband) liked it up here because he likes to fish.., so I named it the Honey Hole because of Wewa — because of Tupelo Honey and fishing,” Brenda said.
The Honey Hole is open Tuesday through Sunday, serving lunch and dinner on weekdays and adding a breakfast menu on the weekends. For more information about the restaurant, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/honeyholewewa2022.
This story is part of a limited series of features The Star will be releasing on a weekly basis exploring Gulf County’s growing food scene. To read earlier stories from the series, visit the Star’s website at www.gulfcounty.news.