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That road is long and difficult. After graduating, they moved again, this

This was a crossroads for the Eans. While Josh was garnering

time to St. Simons Island to complete externships. Josh was placed in the

acclaim for his innovative menus, the nighttime schedule left little

catering division of the resort island, while Abbey-Jo found her place in the

time for their growing family, which quickly grew to include a daugh-

pastry department. Three weeks after their move, with few belongings but

ter, Caroline. While enjoying breakfast with Abbey-Jo's mother at

plenty of drive, the pastry chef left and left Abbey-Jo to run a 5-star resort

Happy Gillis one day, they had an idea.

pastry program. In a sink or swim situation, they made it work.

"My mom actually said it. She said, 'You guys just need your own

St. Simons Island led to Atlanta and an apprenticeship for Josh at

Happy Gillis. You need somewhere with daytime hours, and you can

the now-shuttered Seeger's. While the five-star restaurant was a great

do it together. That's it; I'm just going to ask God to give you your own

opportunity, it came at an inopportune time--the couple had just found

Happy Gillis," Abbey-Jo says.

out they were pregnant. In an empty apartment, the couple faced what

While God's timing is His own, He does answer prayer, in the Eans' experi-

they both say was the hardest period of their life. Seven days after the

ence. A few months later, after a guest chef dinner at the American, featuring

birth of their son, Elliot, they moved back to Kansas City, bought a

Happy Gillis owner, Todd Schulte, Josh made an interesting connection.

house and started looking into husband and wife restaurant ventures.

"After service, Todd just sort of casually mentioned that he was

Josh found a job at the now defunct 40 Sardines, then run by hus-

thinking of selling Happy Gillis. I just thought 'Why would you want

band and wife team Debbie Gold and Michael Smith. This entry into

to do that? That seems like the ideal situation'. I talked to Abbey-Jo,

the world of Kansas City's independent restaurants opened the door

and she said, absolutely," says Josh. After securing financing, they

to relationships that they still maintain today. After creating menus for

purchased Happy Gillis in December of the same year.

The Drop and Blanc Burgers and Bottles together, and adding a son,

If you've never been to Happy Gillis, it can be described as a culinary

Henry, to the brood, Josh left the Blanc concept and took a position at

hug. The bright yellow walls enclose only a few tables that are coveted

The American under his former chef, Debbie Gold. When she decided

during the weekend brunch rush. The menu of sandwiches, salads,

to move on, he took the position of interim Executive Chef.

and soups rotates based on the availability of local produce, and their


Northland Lifestyle | November 2017

Northland, MO November 2017  

November 2017 Issue of Northland Lifestyle

Northland, MO November 2017  

November 2017 Issue of Northland Lifestyle