Atlanta’s Homestyle Chefs Get Creative In A Pandemic

Atlanta’s Homestyle Chefs Get Creative In A Pandemic

Chances are you’re ordering a lot more meals from delivery services now than before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Companies like Grubhub and Door Dash are reporting massive increases in active diners.

But there has also been a rise in popularity for small-batch, specialty foods being delivered in Atlanta.

Grace Brown-Pouncey started leaning into her love of baking in her early 20’s. She got jobs baking and assisting at Star Provisions, Bacchanalia and then Little Tart Bakeshop, where she still works part-time. But it wasn’t until the lockdown began that she decided to expand her operation at home.

“I started Goodness Graceous Baking officially when the pandemic hit Atlanta, and everything was shut down,” she said. “I was baking a lot at home still, and I was like, ‘This would be a great opportunity for me to get pastries out to people who are just stuck at their house or working from home.’”

Brown-Pouncey takes delivery orders over Instagram for boxes packed with freshly baked assortments like cinnamon buns, bagels and hand pies with seasonal fruit filling. They sell out nearly every week.

“I think that pandemic has been interesting because people are offering services in more unique ways,” Brown-Pouncey said. She is still doing porch deliveries and hopes to continue, but says it’s gotten harder now that things are opening back up and traffic is getting worse.

Emily Chan and her wife Jen, owners of JenChan’s Supper Delivery Club, worked in the restaurant industry for years before deciding to create their own delivery supper club in 2018. Customers can subscribe and choose between three meals, including a vegan and vegetarian option, for delivery each week.

The business was doing so well that they decided to open a brick-n-mortar restaurant in Cabbagetown — six months before the pandemic hit.

“We got the space, and we were open for six months. We really hit our stride in February and early March. Our sales just skyrocketed, and then mid-march, we had to shut our doors. It’s been incredibly difficult,” Emily Chan said.

Despite the challenges of owning a restaurant during a pandemic, Emily Chan says the delivery club portion of their business is still thriving. “We turned our servers into delivery drivers because they are definitely not making ends meet being a server considering, we don’t really encourage dine-in.”

She said that hasn’t been enough to cover the costs of their large restaurant, so they’ve also had to pivot and implement new strategies for take-out options.

“A lot of the fun things we used to do don’t work in a take-out box. So for the restaurant, we bought a pizza oven,” she said. “That has been fantastic for us. Everyone loves pizza.”

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