By: Alexandra Scott

There is something about two perfectly balanced ingredients that can create something spectacular. Pair crispy fried chicken with the sweetness of a waffle to make a southern favorite, the right amount of champagne mixed with the tang of orange bubbles up into a mimosa, partner high-energy Monet Love and warm, empathetic Michelle Joseph to form the brain trust behind Muse Bistro.

While you might think Muse is just a name, to co-owners, best friends, and self-described “complete opposites” Monet and Michelle, it is something else entirely. Beyond creating their own, deeper definition of this word, they believe in creating spaces and opportunities to lift others and their communities.

M – Manifest

U – Utilize

S – Sacrifice

E – Excel

This level of passion, creativity, and elevated thinking is exactly the inspiration behind their partnership and brand. With these tools, an unparalleled level of perseverance, and a unique vision for their slice of downtown Corpus Christi, they are on a path to create your new favorite place in town.  

“These four characteristics help, not only women but everyone with their personal development and leaning towards any goal they thought was not possible,” explains Michelle. In a world where women are paving new trails in business and leading in new entrepreneurship, they find their muse in everything they do. Especially now.

If you’ve ever tried your hand in the restaurant industry, you know it’s a hard one to break into. Then, enter COVID-19. Love and Joseph’s original vision centered around southern-style cuisine, a lively atmosphere, and a restaurant full of patrons. They haven’t let a global pandemic stop them.

“I think food is everyone’s love language,” says Michelle, the behind-the-scenes-foodie of the operation, “We’ve had to pivot our vision and create food that travels well.”

“The entire operations and construction pieces had to change due to COVID,” continues Monet, the face of the business/voluntary taste tester, “You’re dealing with new occupancy rates, change to design concepts and finding ways to adapt while staying true to the original vision.”

It is easy to see how these two personalities complement each other and how they’ve succeeded with Monet living in Corpus Christi and Michelle, and her family of 5, based in Richmond. Joseph has admitted to the sadness of missing milestones along the way but knowing it will all be worth it once the bistro opens this fall.

It’s humbling to see two Black, thirty-something, female entrepreneurs paving a way for themselves in this world and the broader impact of their journey is not lost on them. Their philosophy, above all, is continuing to push forward for women and stress the positive impact of empowering their fellow females.

“We want to provide an inclusive space that will make people want to come and enjoy themselves, create a space for a community,” boasts Love.

“Women do so much. For us, it is continuing to push forward in everything that we do,” continues Joseph, “So often women have so many responsibilities that we never get to say ‘you know what, I can do more than just what is expected of me.’ There are a daily drive and discipline that we are constantly holding on to.”

As a wife and mother of 3, Michelle admits that the daily news can sometimes be too much for her.

“I have three Black kids; my husband is Black. We are trying to combat all the stereotypes associated with being Black and being a Black family. Mostly, when they say Black families don’t stay together. That’s a pressure for me. I want to prove to women that you can have your business, your married life, and your family. You can do all of these things. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it takes an extreme amount of strength but it is doable.”

Monet, however, is feeling the activist spirit.

“What conversations do we need to have to make things better,” she asks, “Do I feel this additional expectation or pressure that younger people see me as an example? Absolutely. I am constantly thinking about those who are going to come after me.”

The strength and grace with which the two trailblaze and make their way in a world that tends to put their actions under a magnifying glass is nothing short of extraordinary. As they have continued to push forward despite all this year has thrown at them, we wondered what advice they would offer to those they hope to inspire.

“It is going to take a strong sense of sacrifice and discipline. It’s hard, but if you’re willing to put in the time and make those sacrifices, you will be able to accomplish what you want,” offered Monet, whom her partner describes as the determined, persistent kind of person who can always take you out of your comfort zone.

Michelle, or as Monet calls her, the calming, solution-oriented presence of the pair agreed.

“Do not expect short term wins. Entrepreneurship is a series of sacrifices, and sometimes failures, to get to your success. So, don’t let the failures stop you if this is really what you want.

Michelle and Monet are exactly what they sound like, the perfect pair of muses.