Hannah Himmelrich, 22, has maintained an active role in her family’s business, Stone Mill Bakery, for as long as she can remember.
A Pikesville native, Himmelrich started working under the tutelage of her father, co-owner Alfie, at the age of 14. Himmelrich would commute from Park School to the company’s Green Spring Station eatery in Lutherville every day after school to learn the tricks of the restaurant trade.
After graduating from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, this past fall, Himmelrich returned home to join Stone Mill, known for its handmade European-style bread, on a full-time basis. She serves as a shift manager at Green Spring Station while also making regular visits to the company’s second location in Stevenson Village and its wholesale distribution center at Meadow Mill in Woodbury.
Though Himmelrich has contemplated moving back to Europe and pursing graduate school at some point, she said she is focused on bringing new and innovative ideas to Stone Mill.
When did you first know you wanted to follow in your father’s footsteps and take up the family business?
Growing up, my dad told me the one thing he didn’t want me or my brother [Sam] to do was go into the restaurant business because it was so much hard work. But I knew I didn’t want to go straight into another job after I graduated from college, so having this option to come back to and work for my dad was perfect. Even when I was in high school, and every time I came home from college, I was always really involved in the business. After growing up around this business, I don’t know if I could go and sit in an office for eight hours.
As a shift manager, what are your day-to-day responsibilities?
While I am one of the shift managers, I basically do whatever is needed. I usually run expo — making sure the food is prepared on time and delivered to customers — and I’m also behind the register a lot. Running the register is definitely my favorite thing to do because I like interacting with the customers. The only thing I really don’t do is make the food. I also have a few other projects I’m doing on the side, like a menu redesign and coming up with new food projects for our menu. The most important thing I have learned is to treat the people who work for you, the customers and everyone in the business equally, with kindness and respect. I think that reflects in the attitude and vibe of Stone Mill, which I consider an extension of my family.
What are some of Stone Mill’s defining characteristics?
The thing I think Stone Mill is known for is being a meeting place and promoting a real sense of community. I know most customers’ orders when they walk in the door, and we’ll have it ready for them as they’re leaving. I think people really appreciate that. One of our other managers [Chris Janoff] is the best. He’s the star, and we wouldn’t be Stone Mill without Chris. I think that’s due in large part to the way my father has handled the business and the way his attitude is toward accommodating whatever the customer wants.
Food-wise, my favorite thing is the brisket panini. It’s often not on the menu, because it sells out so quickly. We only make about five or six of them a day. Mostly, our sandwiches and our soups are hugely popular. I’m obviously biased, but I can’t think of anything on our menu that I don’t like or wouldn’t recommend to customers.
Is there any aspect of the business you would like to become more involved with?
At some point, I’d like to learn more about the bakery side and the bread we make. For a while, I was thinking about going to culinary school, because I love to cook and am very passionate about it. I’m still considering doing some kind of cooking course to learn more. I feel like if I’m going to be working in front of house, I should learn how to cook to have a better understanding of what’s going on in the back. If there’s something wrong with the food, for instance, I could better identify the problem.