In a year of uncertainty and change, Heather Bugg Ries made the most of her circumstances. After selling Ladybugg Bakery in May, she used her skill set in new ways to open Mrs. Hippie Eats out of her home in Hernando.
Now, she’ll be back in a storefront after signing a lease in a space not far from her original bakery she opened almost ten years ago.
“I just basically got bored and started cooking from my house,” Ries said.
With her new work-from-home venture, Ries was preparing take-and-bake meals and unique desserts, like turtles and toffee, for families in DeSoto County, all while getting to spend more time with her triplets. Before opening Ladybugg Bakery, Ries also worked as a pastry chef, as well as a private chef for a family in Memphis.
From baklava to wedding cakes and plates of homemade barbecue and coleslaw, Mrs. Hippie Eats became popular instantly. Her Facebook page, where she ran most of her business, garnered over 2,000 likes in the few months she’s been operating.
“It became more than what I originally planned,” she said.
As her new small business became more and more popular, Ries knew that serving food out of your home without a proper license was against Mississippi law. When the health department reached out to her, she wasn’t surprised.
“That wasn’t really a surprise,” she said of the health department’s warning. “I know what I can and cannot do.”
According to Mississippi Cottage Food Law, the only foods that can be prepared and sold from a private home are shelf-sustainable products like dried goods, candy, jams and jellies, and baked goods. Ries’ homemade tamales, pecan pies and cheesy garlic mashed potatoes did not fall into that category, according to the health department.
Her experience in the food industry made her aware of what she was permitted to make in her home. Fortunately, she was already in the midst of finding a storefront for a long-term home for her business.
“I had been talking to (the space’s owners) about it previously,” she said. “It was already in the works.”
With her lease starting in February, Ries hopes to open the Mrs. Hippie Eats storefront in March or April. The grab-and-go-style restaurant will feature a menu full of gourmet breads, soups, casseroles and desserts, all with unique recipes by Ries. Mrs. Hippie Eats will also provide catering services for private events and parties.
The new restaurant will be located at 182 E. Center St. in Hernando, just steps from the original Ladybugg Bakery.