Need a cup of sugar? A dozen eggs, a roll of toilet paper or maybe yeast? How about milk, eggs or fresh fruit? Instead of going to the grocery store, think about stopping by your local pizzeria or deli, a sports bar or barbecue joint to pick up items missing in your pantry.
In our now strange reality, restaurants are now offering groceries, a development that has become a national trend. For consumers, it helps reduce the time you spend in grocery stores, enables you to pick up items you might not find on supermarket shelves and means you’re dealing with fewer people handling your products or being in your space. It’s also a way to help support an industry that’s struggling.
As Hobbit’s Brandon Lockett said, “It’s a win-win.”
“We started out to hep because people couldn’t find the products they needed,” said Brandon, manager of Hobbit American Grill East, one of three Hobbits in Tallahassee.
The sports bar and grill even sold out of its cleaning supplies but they’ve restocked.
Selling groceries ended up helping the business as well, Lockett said. “We also wanted to bring in revenue because things had slowed down.”
You may not find your favorite cereal or snacks at your neighborhood restaurant, but you can probably cover the basics — and maybe more.
Jesse Edmunds, who owns Liberty Bar & Restaurant, El Cocinero, the Hawthorn Bistro & Bakery and Bar 1903, said the idea of offering products had been in the works because of requests for items like his restaurants’ house-made jams, jellies and hot sauce. But now, due to Covid-19, that idea has morphed into its Pantry & Provisions program, which starts April 25.
Customers order a box of groceries, which includes about 20 items such as a dozen eggs, a pound of butter, lettuce, potatoes, ground beef, bacon and the always important toilet paper and paper towels. One unique feature is that the box “adds a lot of flair,” said Jesse. For instance, the chicken has been pre-brined, deli turkey has been house roasted and the bread is from Hawthorn’s bakery.
“Our supply chain is tight and controlled, ” said Jesse, noting that his staff has daily health screenings. “We’re reducing the number of people who are touching your groceries,”
Uptown Cafe & Catering started offering grocery items “probably around the end of March when we realized that there were things we were able to order through our distributors that our customers couldn’t easily get at Publix or Winn-Dixie due to high demand,” said Katie Callis, one of Uptown’s manager. “It is going great so far.”
“If anything, the revenue is coming more from people getting takeout from our regular menu, but we are still happy to provide the grocery items.”
Katie said Uptown gets its products from its distributors, Sysco, Reinhart Food Service and Chapman Produce. “It’s hard for even those big guys to keep things in stock too. This being temporary or not depends on the community. If people are still struggling to find eggs at their local grocery store we will be happy to provide.”
It might be a temporary trend, but for now, grocery sales at neighborhood eateries is gaining momentum. Here’s a list of places adding markets so you can skip supermarket lines and empty shelves and shop local.
If we’ve missed any place, please let us know in your comments or email [email protected].
Il Lusso: The fine dining restaurant is offering groceries and steaks in addition to takeout meals. Curbside provision boxes and a la carte provisions are available. We are thrilled to bring you a new format for ordering groceries in town. Our curbside provisions boxes and a la carte provisions have everything you need to get through a week without having to visit the grocery store. Aside from groceries items for sale include gloves, toilet paper, sanitizer and paper towels. Check for specific items. Provisions will be available Monday to Friday from the online ordering platform ilLusso.SmartOnlineOrder. 201 E. Park Ave.; 850-765-8620.
Seven Hills’ Hospitality Group’s Liberty Bar & Restaurant, El Cocinero, The Hawthorn Bistro & Bakery and Bar 1903: The group is making some changes for its Pantry Box. Groceries will be available for delivery or curbside pickup during regular business hours. You can now order a la carte instead of purchasing the whole box. Visit the website for menus and ordering or call at 850-354-8277. Hours 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Pantry supplies are offered in addition to takeout orders for dishes from all four restaurants from the Seven Hills Hospitality group. 1307 N. Monroe St.; 850-354-8277
Uptown Cafe and Catering is offering grocery staples aside from offering its daily breakfast and lunch menu. You can buy groceries during normal hours, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. You can order in the morning and do pickup or delivery in the afternoon. Uptown is offering items like eggs, bacon, coffee, milk, coffee beans, toilet paper and housemade items like tuna and chicken salad and roasted turkey breast, said Uptown’s general manager Nic Tedio. 1325 Miccosukee Rd.; 850-219-9800. Top photo from Uptown.
Hobbit American Grill East, 400 Capital Circle SE (850-402-2900); Hobbit American Grill West, 2020 Pensacola St. (850-576-1009); and Hobbit American Grill South. 5032 Capital Circle SW (850-942-4505). Paper towels, bleach, salami, cheese and Hobbit wing sauce are some of the items you’ll find at Hobbit. Check out facebook.com/HobbitParkAve/. You’ll also find sandwiches, burgers, wings (to go with that sauce) and lots of grilled items. The Hobbit is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Munchies Pizza, 695 W. Virginia St. Along with items like pizza, chicken wings, garlic knots, brownies and cinnamon bites, you can get a variety of groceries here, including five pounds of flour, a four-ounce bag of active dry yeast, two six and nine-ounce chicken breasts, a dozen eggs and a flat of eggs, toilet paper (for 75 cents a roll), a box of gloves and two-liter sodas. 850-759-0660.
Jason’s Deli, 2335 Apalachee Pkwy. The deli chain started selling grocery items early on, said Timothy Sprague, managing partner of Tallahassee’s branch.”We started to help out more than anything because people were scared to go into the grocery store.” Jason’s is now offering market items like milk, eggs by the dozen, sliced cold cuts and cheese, rice by the pound and gloves and sanitizer when they have it. If you’re craving chocolate mousse, call a day or so n advance to request the popular dessert. The deli drive-thru is open 8 a.m.- 10 p.m. daily and they deliver free of charge any order over $25 from 8 a.m to 9 p.m. 850-402-0135.
4 Rivers Smokehouse, 817 Thomasville Rd. (Whole Foods plaza). Along with ordering your favorite barbecue items, you’ll find family meals and a list of grocery items and paper goods including quarts of flour or sugar, half-dozen eggs, milk (Almond as well as regular milk) beans, rice, meats and paper towels. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily except Sunday. 844-474-8377.
The Oaks Restaurant, 4727 U.S. 90, Marianna. Eddie and Jo Davis were serving 7,000 diners a week at The Oaks restaurant on U.S. 90, but they’ve now switched to operating a grocery store, selling many of the products they used to cook, including a range of steaks, catfish and shrimp. It’s open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday. 850-526-1114.
Panera Bread. You can now order groceries as well as menu items from all three of Tallahassee’s Panera Bread spots for pick-up or delivery. Panera is offering items like milk, breads, bagels and fresh produce. Hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 101 North N. Blair Stone Rd., 3523 Thomasville Rd. and 800 Ocala Rd. https://www.panerabread.com/en-us/panera-grocery.html
Here’s a story from Forbes about the trend nationally.