By Daniel McNeeley, Chattanooga, Tenn., — There are those who prefer the experience of dining out to enjoy quality food prepared by a professional and then there those who think there is nothing better than a home cooked meal, prepared at leisure.
The Grocery Bar, which had its grand opening on July 25, has blended the concept of a local farmer’s market with the experience and convenience of a restaurant.
Chris McCourt, a manager at the Grocery Bar, explained the idea behind the unique service as a way to support the community in all facets. To promote this idea, every Saturday the Grocery Bar will donate 10% of all earnings to an organization from the surrounding area, even ones sponsored by UTC. This notion of giving back to the community extends to students as well, with a 10% discount on any purchase, provided they have their Mocs Card. However, Saturday is not the only day to find a good deal. “Sundays will be Sushi Sunday. Mondays are Comfort Roll Mondays. Taco Tuesdays. Wine Down Wednesdays.” McCourt explained that no matter when you come, their hope is to save you time, effort, and money.
One can walk through the doors and find a variety of locally grown produce, then step over an aisle to find a few of the everyday items one might expect to find at a traditional grocery store. What separates this establishment from a traditional market is in the way it offers a series of “bars,” filled with fully prepared entrees and sides, as if at a cafeteria. Patrons grab a dish, serve themselves their favorite items, then checkout at the register. “From the sushi bar to the pizza bar, there was something for everybody,” said Taylor Showley, a sophomore from Nashville who enjoyed a fresh kale salad from the salad bar.
As for people who want to cook for themselves and use the Grocery Bar more traditionally, Moby Halverson, an employee at the Grocery Bar, has some suggestions. “They can come to me, ask me questions… This is my passion: to get people excited about cooking.” Much of the staff are conveniently available behind the counter for any and all inquiries, especially for those who want to improve their at-home culinary craft.
With a passionate and knowledgeable staff, the Grocery Bar provides a wide variety of options to the surrounding community, hoping to uplift the community and inspire the home cook. It is located in Chattanooga’s Southside at 1501 Long Street.