It All Started With A Biscuit

By: Denio Lourenço

Tucked into the heart of Williamsburg lies the BeeHive Oven Biscuit Cafe, which came to life out of a family recipe and a kind gesture. In 2012, after Superstorm Sandy devastated parts of New York, Treva and John Chadwell began to give out free biscuits to those affected by the tragedy.

“Coming from Texas we know how disastrous Hurricanes can be, so one day Treva started baking biscuits and Frito pie for hungry families.” — John Chadwell

Treva Chadwell is a classically trained Chef from the Institute of Culinary Education. Being from Texas, she knew about the comforting effects of Southern food and decided to bake 750 biscuits to give away to families in need, many of whom had lost their homes as a result of the storm.

Feeding victims of Hurricane Sandy — Photo courtesy of John Chadwell.

The community soon fell in love with Chef Treva’s cooking, and after receiving multiple requests to open a restaurant from people in the neighborhood, she set her eye on a location in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

In May 2014, BeeHive Oven opened its doors for the first time. However, prior to being the rustic cafe that it is today, the location used to be a bodega.

“The owner of the building was looking for a diversity of business in an area of Williamsburg that was already heavy populated with bodegas and delicatessens, and he was interested in our idea of a southern biscuit cafe,” said Treva Chadwell.

“I think people from the neighborhood keep coming back because of the atmosphere at BeeHive Oven. We’re like each other’s family and friends.” — Miguelina Garcia

Since opening the cafe John and Treva have relocated back to their home state of Texas, while Miguelina Garcia is in charge of managing the daily operations of the cafe.

In recent days, parts of Texas have experienced extreme storm damage at the hands of Hurricane Harvey. For Treva, this situation was all too familiar and has brought back memories of Hurricane Sandy. She is planning to partner with a larger company to set up mobile kitchens in South Texas where those in need can seek food and assistance.

Natural disasters can have severe effects on local communities and businesses. However, regardless of the destruction that may arise, Treva states that what matters is how people come together and mobilize in order to rebuild their community.