Dreamers & Doers
Achieving a dream he’s had since he was a young man living across the pond in the United Kingdom, Simon Mee has worked diligently to be a restaurateur – and not just an average one, but a cutting edge and creatively minded individual. Completing his studies in Hotel Management in the U.K., Simon traveled to the United States, landing at the Four Season to extend his service industry education.
What can feel like a lifetime ago in reality was closer to 18 years ago, when a younger Simon Mee met a studious Shannon Daugherty at the Starbucks he was managing in Granada Hills. Shannon, attending grad school after returning from her travels in Europe, enjoyed her coffee breaks as the budding relationship found its roots.
“That original connection of friendship is what keeps us going; it’s something we can always fall back on when things in life are getting more complicated or we feel pulled into too many directions,” say the Mees. “We had been dating for a few years when I signed the lease of a vacant space that once was home of Gallager’s and Egg Plantation,” said Simon. “And after that, with the wonderful advice and support of the yellow Victorian business owners as well as our local community, we received the blessing of the original owners and restored the business to the community-loved Egg Plantation in 2000.”
The restoration and evolution of Egg Plantation was a true labor of love. Any person in the service industry can attest to the long hours, hard work and grit that it takes to be a success. Simon, Shannon and their staff managed breakfast, lunch and dinner shifts until Simon and Shannon regrouped and decided to focus on what originally worked for the Egg Plantation back in the 70s. Getting back to the roots of the business was the best decision for them and allowed Egg Plantation to produce quality food and provide the excellent level of service they are still known for today.
And that passion, commitment to excellence and drive to take chances is what inspired the Mees to open Newhall Refinery, their second restaurant, which focuses on fine food and craft beer and cocktails.
“The menu reflects the respect and passion we have for originality. Chef Boole and the kitchen create all the menu items, including desserts, in-house from scratch. And they pair perfectly with our extensive specialty craft beers, cocktails, and wines. We are proud to be a farm-to-fork restaurant dedicated to serving natural sustainable products that produce the best dishes for customers to enjoy,” Simon said.
It’s an incredible amount of work to launch one restaurant and be successful, yet four years later, Simon and Shannon Mee are proving what they have believed since day one will hold true: Integrity, honesty and hard work will always give you the advantage to take the lead and be successful.
“We both have our moments, but we choose our battles, and we both know that when the other one is that passionate about something, then it’s time to back down and support them. It’s important to have that respect of the things each other loves,” Shannon said.
A devoted Jane Austen fan, Shannon had an extremely proud “mom moment” at the Jane Austen Museum on a recent trip to the U.K. to visit family. After watching what she enjoyed as a lovely presentation on Ms. Austen – and looking over to her adoring, yet not quite as interested family – their middle child Liam looked up to her and said, “Mommy are you so happy right now?” And as all moms do, Shannon excitedly and honestly replied, “I am baby, I am having the best time!”
It’s these moments that Simon and Shannon are reminded the bedrock of their marriage: their ability to count on each other. Truly and truthfully, each family member knows when you feel like you may fall, or you need a helping hand, family will be there to catch you and lift you up. As a married person of almost five years, I was so taken by their refreshing approach on partnership and their absolute awareness of each other in the way the show kindness and affirm their commitment to the life they have worked so hard to build. It’s a shining light to all the people around them.
Simon and Shannon proudly call Newhall their home with their three children: Ella, 11, Liam, 10, and Riley, 8. The Mees love the outdoors, including hiking, the beach, and soccer, as well as anything they can do together as a family. You can visit with Simon and Shannon at Egg Plantation and Newhall Refinery, both located in Old Town Newhall.
photos by Christine DeHaven Photography