One-on-one with Pastry Chef Heather Bennett from the Honeycomb Cafe

Last updated: March 25, 2024

Heather Bennett is a certified pastry chef through the American Culinary Federation as well through the University of South Carolina. She is the woman behind the scenes creating donuts, pepperoni rolls, and more at the Honeycomb Cafe in Bramwell, West Virginia.

Visit Mercer County: Can you tell us about the first time you came down into Bramwell?

Heather: Sure, the first time that we came into Bramwell, my husband and I came to look at the area
just to see what the new town that we might be moving to was like. And we came in and I
absolutely fell in love with the town. I am a person that loves the Victorian era. And so seeing all
the houses and the quaint little town, it just reminded me of a Hallmark town and I fell in love
with it and I thought it was cute. And so when my husband and I were both getting ready to
retire, my daughter was getting ready to graduate high school. We decided to move to

Visit Mercer County: What does it mean to you to be able to bake or cook for residents and visitors?
Heather: I get to make people happy through food. I love to see the smiles on little kids’ faces when they get to eat sweets or just a sweet little treat. I like making people happy just with food. I mean, food is a universal language everywhere. Everybody loves food, whether it’s, whether you’re a dieter or not, you have, there’s different elements of food that you like. And I like to be able to make people happy through all kinds of food, whether it be savory or sweet.

Visit Mercer County: So one of the things that the Mercer County CVB has really been advocating is this concept of Uniquely Appalachian, whether or not it’s the ATV trails or even like the arts and the music
scene in Mercer County…What aspects of local restaurants in Mercer County would you say
have a Uniquely Appalachian feel? Does that resonate with any part of the Honeycomb Cafe or
any of the restaurants in the area?
Heather: We are finding out what Appalachian means. We found the
pepperoni roll for one is a big one, so we carry that. Biscuits and gravy. It’s a lot of simple fare:
meats, beans, cornbread. It’s just very hearty, very comforting food. And it just kind of welcomes
everybody in and you can sit and have a good meal.

Visit Mercer County: What surprised you most since moving here about Appalachian culture or Appalachian cuisine?
Heather: We’re taught so many things in school as far as what your standard items should be, whether it be in a restaurant or in a pastry case or what have you, things that people are gonna like. And I have
found that is not the case here. The thing that I was surprised about is people wanted a
sugar cookie. I mean, it’s the simplest thing, but that kind of leads back to the Appalachian
culture, everything’s simple; it’s easy. They want stuff that it makes them feel good and takes them
back to their childhood. What’s more simple than a sugar cookie?

Visit Mercer County: What could somebody that wants to come to Honeycomb Cafe find in your bakery case?
Heather: Some of the things that people would be able to find are pepperoni rolls, cheesecakes, danishes, quiches, souffles and more. On Saturdays, we do fresh donuts. The most popular item, and if I don’t make it, I get people really mad at me is our lemon loaf.

Visit Mercer County: Why should someone come to the Honeycomb Cafe?
Heather: Well, for me personally, I would say it’s just, it’s a cozy place to come. Whether it’s hot
outside or it’s cold outside, you can find something here.

The Honeycomb Cafe is also part of the West Virginia Culinary Trail through West Virginia Tourism. Let us know if you visit the cafe by tagging your photos with #visitmercerwv.