Atlanta restaurants turn themselves into fresh markets to stay open

As local businesses struggle to stay open, some Atlanta restaurants are changing what they sell in hopes of drawing customers in. One popular brunch spot in Kirkwood turned itself into a general store.

Toilet paper, gloves, fresh produce, and bread are all things you can now buy from the Sun in my Belly restaurant, and everything they sell is from farms and companies across Georgia.

"We would be closed if we weren't doing this," said cafe manager, Matt DeBusschere.

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The business, among many other restaurants in Atlanta, have completely changed their business model in an effort to keep the family business alive.

"If we were closed, there would be forty people out of income waiting for the government to catch up, families wondering how are gonna put food on the table, how are we going to pay rent," said DeBusschere.

Shopper Morgan Mooney-Honeychurch also works in the foodservice industry, and she said having local restaurants like this stay open is comforting to see.

"To me, it's like the dandelions you see growing in the cracks in the sidewalk. It's not an ideal situation, but them being here and finding a way to stay open, and to fight through this, and keep their employees working, is a hopeful message that we'll come out of this okay," Mooney-Honeychurch.

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The employees at Sun in my Belly said they see that hope every time a customer walks in to support their new kind of business.

"We cannot get through this without doing it together," said  DeBusschere.

In addition to selling their own meals and products, Sun in my Belly is clearing some of their restaurant space for other local vendors feeling the tough times.

"We have lots of small makers who have lost their storefronts, and we're saying, 'Come in, no commission, we want you to make your money, we want people to see you, and we want visibility with you because we are all in this together'," said DeBusschere.

Sun in my Belly is partnering with the following vendors to support small businesses owned by Georgia families:

  1. Xocolatl
  2. Docent Coffee
  3. The Victorian
  4. Glad & Young
  5. Pearl & Sky
  6. In God We Must
  7. King of Pops

You can order online from Sun in my Belly HERE. If you live within four miles of the store, the servers will deliver your to-go order along with the supplies you ordered as well. If you'd like to call and place an order, reach the restaurant at 404-370-1088. The store is open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. daily.

Other restaurants across Atlanta are converting to grocery style shops to help keep businesses running. Here are a few to check out. These stores offer a mix of takeout options plus fresh options for your pantry. 

  1. Storico Fresco Alimentari e Ristorante
  2. Bell Street Burritos
  3. Hampton + Hudson
  4. Rumi's Kitchen Sandy Springs
  5. Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar

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