I had the pleasure of sitting down with Mike Markowitz, owner of in-town restaurant Hickory Kitchen, at the Co-op not too long ago. When I first met Mike at his restaurant as a new customer, over two years ago, he made it a point to get to know me. During our interview at the Co-op, I quickly learned that is what Mike does, over and over – gets to know his customers on a first name basis; gets to know their preferences; and makes sure his customers are happy and satisfied with their orders. If not, he will make it right – like replacing an item, or adding a complementary treat – his customers’ satisfaction is his joy.
Mike’s attention to customer satisfaction pays off. “We have a large core of regular customers – they are great supporters of the restaurant.” He also pointed out that, “We are now drawing people from farther away given our great record of reviews on Trip Advisor, Yelp, Google, and social media outlets.”
Mike describes Hickory Kitchen as a neighborhood eatery with a barbeque menu plus more; a place where everyone can find something to satisfy their individual needs: the child, the vegetarian, the meat eater. “I work very hard to craft foods and beverages that are unique, comfortable and affordable. We make 85% of everything served in house – from our sauces to our side dishes, to the smoking of our meats, to our cornbread.”
Hickory Kitchen is celebrating their fifth anniversary in Doylestown. Mike’s journey to successful entrepreneur and restaurant owner began in Pittsburgh, at the foot of his Hungarian born grandmother. “She was the matriarch of the family. I learned about cooking and life from her. She had an immeasurable impact on me.” He added, “I learned to cook by feel and touch. My grandmother never used a recipe.”
Mike is a big supporter of community and local efforts and views Hickory Kitchen as a vital part of the Doylestown community where people live, work, and play. Mike has been a generous supporter of the Co-op, since before the store opened, offering fundraising dinners at his restaurant and becoming one of our first eco-system partners.
Mike is so committed to continuing to give back to the Co-op that he has just restructured his member benefit. Now, as a co-op member and restaurant customer, be sure to show your co-op card at check out. You will be paying full price for your meal and then, Hickory Kitchen will give back 20% of total member purchases to the Co-op through an end-of-month rebate. A satisfied smile lights up Mike’s face when he discusses the new deal. “This is the collective power of the community.” And that’s the way Mike and Hickory Kitchen roll.
Make sure you save the date: Saturday, July 11 as John LaSala will be representing Hickory Kitchen and will be offering samples of delicious cornbread!