By Alysha Conner
Monique Rose has successfully built a million-dollar empire through her work as a savvy businesswoman and entrepreneur.
Of her most notable accomplishments is her line of work as a culinary visionary.
Over the span of ten years, Rose and her fiancé, celebrity chef Sammy Davis Jr., have prospered in establishing a chain of fruitful restaurants under their brand Milked, LLC.
On July 20th, the dynamic duo will be officially opening another franchise location in Georgia.
“We were doing pop-up brunches in Atlanta at restaurants that were closed on Sundays, and they had such a good response. Every time we post something, everyone in Atlanta always says ‘When are you coming back to Atlanta? We want the food too.’ So this space became available and we had the opportunity to go for it,” Rose explained.
Rose and co-owner Davis began their partnership in 2015 with a boutique catering company called Sammoe Fud. Soon after, they established the Milk and Honey Restaurant on Cascade Road in Atlanta, GA.
Once their affiliation ended in 2016, the pair went on to open Milk and Honey Café in Beltsville, MD. The couple eventually opened another location in Maryland, and one more in Washington, DC.
Their newest all-day-brunch-themed restaurant will be based in College Park at 3719 Main Street. However, it will operate under a slightly altered name, The Real Milk and Honey Café.
Further explaining the location decision and concept behind their new restaurant, Rose stated, “When we thought about Atlanta, we thought that Peters Street was kind of dying down, and there are so many Black-owned businesses on Main Street now. This is going to be the new Peters Street in my opinion.”
“The name comes from the bible. It’s God promise to his people to live in a land flowing with milk and honey. So Sammy came up with the name because that was his promise to people, to give his best through his food. We named this one, The Real Milk and Honey because we did have a licensing deal for the one on Cascade. That lasted for two years, then our partnership ended with them. We added The Real to the name so that it’s clear that it’s chef Sammy’s food.”
All Milk and Honey locations have been designed to “transport guests back in time,” through a unique and urban ambiance. Since the locations share similar menus, Rose and Davis have created the venues to have their own identities through different themed decors. Moreover, The Real Milk and Honey Café is furnished with a music appreciation theme.
“It’s so much music history here, and so many people in the music industry. It just seemed like the right thing to do. Music will be more than just the theme for the restaurant. Maybe like on a Monday, we would like to give local people the opportunity to showcase their music. It’s a beautiful space for events too. There’s a lot of things we can do in here, outside of just serving great food,” Rose declared.
The Real Milk and Honey Café will serve a combination of traditional and new chef Davis Jr. brunch selections. New menu items will only be served at the College Park location. Like the other Milk and Honey restaurants, it will also offer 10 specialty menu items that cannot be modified.
“We’ll have some new stuff, but some old faithful stuff like our lobster, egg, and cheese croissant. We’re doing our whole red snapper, which is our number one seller at our D.C. location. And, of course, we’ll have the shrimp and grits. We’re launching our new French toast. Sammy has been working on it for like three months now, and he has finally perfected it. It’ll be honey and oats. It’s going to be the best French toast that you’ve ever had,” Rose said.
Davis intends to debut other brand new brunch entrees, including his newest vegan meals. Both Rose and Davis have acknowledged the demand for an alternative menu, so the pair strived to produce a special set of vegan entrees. Their vegan specialty items are offered exclusively at The Real Milk and Honey Café.
“For the first time ever we’ll have vegan dishes. They’ve asked so many times when we would do it. I would see tables where there’s one person who’s not eating because there’s not something offered for them. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to offer it. It was that we wanted to make sure we could do it great,” Rose shared.
On July 6thand 7th, Rose and Davis hosted a soft opening for their new Georgia location. Customers were lined up outside the door, as they waited to preview the new restaurant and taste select brunch items. Notorious Atlanta rapper Michael Render, best known as Killer Mike, and his wife Shana Render were also in attendance. Another soft opening will be held on July 11th. Additional menu items will be offered and tickets will not be required.
The Real Milk and Honey Café will also feature a full bar, and specialty drinks made by Rose. Rose mastered her bartending expertise when she was just 18-years-old. She now uses her skills to create signature cocktails, to pair with brunch items at her restaurants. Some of the unique brunch cocktails that are offered at The Real Milk and Honey Café include Adult Kool-Aid, Red Cup ‘Rita, and Flamin’ Hot Bloody Mary.
Depicting her work journey as a teenage bartender to managing and owning several different successful bars and clubs, Rose said, “I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I’ve worked since I was 13. My first job was a caddy. I just saw how I could control how much I made in a day. Bartending really taught me that too. Even though you’re working for somebody, how much you make is really dependent upon you. Opportunities would present themselves and because I had such a good work ethic, I was able to take advantage of them. I’ve worked really hard for a lot of other people and made them a lot of money. I appreciate those experiences because now it brought me here.”
Despite having her first child at 16-years-old, Rose defied the odds and was able to graduate from high school. Rose went on to become a corrections officer for five years, while she was constantly networking and accelerating in the service industry. She also founded and opened House of Hope Girls Group Home, a non-profit organization that focused on pregnancy prevention and independent living skills for girls 16 to 20 years old, in her hometown, Milwaukee, WI.
“What always motivated me was, unfortunately, people saying what I could not do. That pushed me to say ‘Oh you think I can’t do that? Oh okay, yes I can. You say I can’t graduate high school? Okay, I will. You say I can’t get accepted into college? I got accepted into UIC with no GPA because of my ACT scores.’ All those things always fueled me to the next thing,” Rose shared.
Rose continuously strives to use her personal Monique Rose brand for various entrepreneurial works. Currently, Rose operates as a published author, motivational speaker, inspirational life coach, business consultant, and intends to launch her Mink and Honey beauty brand later this year. She also plans to open another group home in the near future.
“Nobody helped me along my journey. I didn’t have anyone saying ‘Here let me help you. Let me take your hand and show you how to do this.’ So, I want to do that. Under my Monique Rose brand, I go talk to schools, teenage girls, and women entrepreneurs. I didn’t want to get so engrossed in Milk and Honey that I didn’t remember to help people. I want to be able to mentor some other 16-year-old girl, who is hopefully not pregnant yet, and prevent her from going down the wrong path,” Rose conveyed.