Friendship foundation 

The Hive Eatery in Edmond provides organic, quality products for comfort and allergen-free food.

Seeded is one of three styles of avocado toast available on the menu at The Hive Eatery. - AARON GILILLAND / PROVIDED
  • Aaron Gililland / provided
  • Seeded is one of three styles of avocado toast available on the menu at The Hive Eatery.

The Hive Eatery in Edmond, 1141 E. Second Street, was born out of the bond between friendship and the desire to provide a dining destination that will make guests happy if they’re searching for indulgent comfort food or if they need organic, allergen-free clean eating.

Ailene Siharath met Stephanie Ward-Armstrong during one of the most difficult parts of Siharath’s life. Ward-Armstrong was there for Siharath in the wake of her divorce after the two met about six years ago, and the bond strengthened over time.

“She comforted me at a time in my life when I needed someone to listen to me, and she was there for me,” Siharath said. “She’s always been pushing me to do this.”

Ward-Armstrong was diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune disease that forces her to eat clean with a focus on organic products that are gluten-free.

“Lupus is different for everyone at different levels,” Ward-Armstrong said. “For me, if I eat something that is not working on my body, I swell up, get really tired. I really have to watch my diet, and [Siharath] provides that for me. … I’m limited on what I can order, and I got tired of going to a restaurant and I could have salad or salad. I told her to gear a menu for people like me: lupus, gluten-free, diabetic, vegan.”

Siharath owns Kate’s Diner in Guthrie, a venture she continues to run with her ex-husband, and she has made a successful business out of serving comfort food. Ward-Armstrong encouraged her to branch out and create a restaurant that features more than just a few nominal items for people looking for clean eating.

“I’ve been doing Katie’s for 17 years where we serve a lot of hamburger steak, chicken-fried steak and biscuits; everything is hearty and covered in gravy,” Siharath said. “[Ward-Armstrong] told me that I needed to do something in Edmond on a lighter flair. There was the challenge. It’s been my bread and butter to make those things that are not so calorie-friendly. I wasn’t sure if there was a market for it because it is Oklahoma, but it has been received so well.”

The Hive opened in a shopping center location formerly occupied by The Hash Retro Diner in mid-December. The Hive is named after Siharath and Ward-Armstrong’s friend group, which is lovingly referred to as the “beehive.”

The original concept of the restaurant had plans for a larger footprint with a full bar and cocktail service, but the location called for a smaller concept, so they shortened the nickname to go along with the smaller space. Siharath said they might start serving bloody marys and mimosas at The Hive in 2020.

Siharath hired chef Micah Fleming to to to execute the menu that is created by herself and her daughter Cameron, who tinkered with ideas like a classic chicken and waffle but with a Belgian waffle made out of jalapeño cornbread and chicken breast tenderized and pounded before being fried and topped with hot honey butter.

“He fit in with our vision of serving quality,” Siharath said of Fleming. “He’s got a tattoo with the word ‘quality’ on his arm. In the interview project, I was looking at a few resumes, and then when I met him, it was right in line with what I was going for in this company.”

Healthy dishes

Classic Shrimp & Grits - AARON GILILLAND / PROVIDED
  • Aaron Gililland / provided
  • Classic Shrimp & Grits
Ward-Armstrong and other diners looking for relief from having to substitute items on the menu to make it applicable to their diet can find comfort in the Weight For It section of the menu.

The Hive offers three types of avocado toast. One is seeded with whole grain toast, smashed avocado, Campari tomatoes, arugula salad and a poached egg finished with balsamic reduction. There is also a version with egg salad and radicchio and a smoked salmon option.

“I’m an avocado toast freak; I love it,” Ward-Armstrong said.

The shrimp and chicken zoodles provide a hearty carb-free pasta replacement with an Alfredo sauce while the keto shrimp and grits pairs the flavors of the Southern classic with a cauliflower version of grits.

The Hive servers Impossible patties to provide a plant-based options on its burgers, but it also gets loose Impossible meat shipped to the restaurant where staff combines it with spices to make their own vegetarian sausage patties.

Customers with allergy concerns are encouraged to work with servers to create new items on the menu like one customer who now has a menu item named after her: The Ashley, which is the smoked salmon avocado toast on gluten-free cauliflower flatbread.

“We had another lady that also has lupus that got an Impossible burger on cauliflower bread and hadn’t eaten a burger in years because of the bread,” Ward-Armstrong said. “It meant so much because she said that it’s been so hard to find a restaurant that is geared for her.” 

The Hive is open 6:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday-Sunday. In addition to its keto and vegetarian menu options, The Hive offers Siharath’s version of classics served at an elevated level, like eggs Benedict that get a garnish of edible flowers.

“I’m not trying to be Jimmy’s Egg or IHOP, but we’re stepping things up to a higher level,” Siharath said from the restaurant that is located across the street from a Denny’s.

Siharath continues to cook at and operate Katie’s Diner, and Ward-Armstrong is a co-owner while also owning and managing Lifetime Insurance in Edmond. On the weekends, it’s all-hands-on-deck, as Ward-Armstrong and Siharath help at The Hive any way possible.

“We found each other divinely,” Siharath said. “My biggest goal is to want to help people because it brings me the greatest joy, and for her too. We started this project and wanted to brand it well so we can have multiple locations and have people invest and have fruit in this business.”

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