Q&A: Se7en Bites Chef and Owner Trina Gregory-Propst
Trina Gregory-Propst and wife VA Propst opened Se7en Bites in October 2013, specializing in Southern comfort foods with a modern twist.
How did your grandmother influence your interest in baking?
My Grammie really was the cook in our family. I can tell you honestly there was not one thing that woman didn’t touch that wasn’t, in my mind, the perfect meal. If I had to pick my personal favorite, it was either her recipe for Swiss steak or chicken and dumplings. It wasn’t until I was 10 that she let me drop the dumplings in the boiling stew water—that was such a big deal to be able to drop these little fluffy clouds of dough in and, poof! It became a dumpling.
What’s your favorite food memory growing up in the South?
After church, whether we would go out to eat or come back to the house and have a big supper, it was truly family time. The South is really about hospitality and lingering, enjoying and having that extra cup of sweet tea.
Se7en Bites is an unusual model. How did you concoct the bakery, breakfast, lunch concept?
Originally, the idea was to be a bakery. It was really demand that moved us into brunch and breakfast. They asked for it, and I said, yeah, I can do that.
How do you handle those 4:30 a.m. wake-up calls?
I love that calm in the morning before the hustle of the day gets started. For someone who loves coffee as much as I do—that fresh, percolating smell—I just resonate with it, and it brings so much to me.
Let’s talk about the signature pie that started your business.
It’s Salted Caramel, Dark Chocolate Pecan Pie. Pecan pie was never my favorite. I tried to think, if I wanted to love pecan pie, what would I need changed about it to love it? It is probably one of the things I am most proud of. Because, to me, it is the perfect Southern pie.
What three items are always in your home fridge?
At least four kinds of pickles and olives. You would think as a baker I would love sweet snacks but I am a salty snack girl. Hint water—the peach and green apple are my favorites. And good butter.
What do you like to cook on your day off?
Tex-Mex anything. As a girl from Texas (originally), I cannot get enough Mexican food and, specifically, Tex-Mex.
National TV made you a celebrity. Benefit or burden?
I feel humbled by it and grateful that people love what we do. It is a little overwhelming to be walking through the grocery store and have someone come up and look in your basket and then ask you what they should make with the food that’s in their basket. That freaks me out a little bit! There’s just more of us on TV right now. We’re up to five Guy’s Grocery Games and two Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. The benefit is that it’s really brought a lot of exposure for our business.
What do you want Central Floridians to know about dining at Se7en Bites?
Not to be afraid when they see the line. We really know how to make this well-oiled machine work. And to know that they’re not coming in for a typical breakfast. Yes, you can still get what we call the basics, but it is going to be a Southern item with a modern twist.
What’s your dream for the future?
My wife, VA, and I both believe that, we have so many people who visit us from all over the United States, if we don’t expand and bring the people what they want, we are missing an opportunity. So, franchising is something we’re looking at. If there’s a way to bring Se7en Bites to some big cities, that would be awesome.
Chocolate or vanilla? Dark chocolate, the darker the better
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Beer or wine? Martinis
Pizza or pasta? Pasta
Roasted or sous vide? Roasted—all the caramelization!
Beef or fish? Beef. I’m a Texas girl
Bagel or biscuit? Everything goes on a biscuit
Top Chef or Chopped? Lost Kitchen
Street eats or sit-down? Street eats
More time or more money? More time
Winter or summer? Fall. I love all the spices that come out in the fall
617 Primrose Dr.