How the Restaurant Industry Found a Way Forward During COVID

Jan 31, 2022

ATL Family Meal

If you like drip coffee and Migas-style breakfast tacos, then the chances are that you have been (or should go) to Muchacho in Reynoldstown. And you also may have noticed that this colorful, retro-esque spot on the Eastside BeltLine has undergone some significant changes since the start of the pandemic. It opened in 2017 with a focus on breakfast and lunch service, open from 7 AM – 4 PM seven days a week.

Now, things look a lot different as the taco spot evolved and pivoted during the pandemic. Like many restaurants, Muchacho did survive the brunt of the pandemic with a walk-up window and distanced outdoor seating. However, now, the indoor space has reopened and includes an additional 1,200 square feet of space. It’s also now open until at least 10 PM and has expanded its menu to include appetizers (always get the street corn) and new cocktails, along with the addition of happy hour specials.

This is just one story of how a restaurant in Atlanta adapted and found its sweet spot during the pandemic, ensuring that it continued to provide guests with a fun, safe experience, and delicious food to boot. I’m so incredibly thankful for the local restaurants and shops that essentially reinvented how they operate to provide us with a sense of normalcy during the pandemic that gave us an escape when things seemed overwhelming and provided a sense of community when we needed one more than ever.

Muchacho Founder Michael Lennox, who also operates Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall on the BeltLine, knows how difficult the last few years have been on the industry and its workers. So much so that he founded ATL Family Meal in March 2020, a nonprofit supporting the hospitality industry and those experiencing job insecurity and joblessness in Metro Atlanta.

This organization aims to bring together the hospitality industry to build a sense of community and helps restaurants, suppliers, vendors and workers to come together and enjoy each other’s community. During the pandemic, this meant delivering meals to unemployed workers. However, ATL Family Meal is now expanding its efforts to provide long-term solutions for the entire community.

We at T/K are excited to share that ATL Family Meal is the first cause that we’ll support through our T/K Raise program. Over the next month, we’ll host a fundraiser for ATL Family Meal on our Facebook page. We’d love for you to join in our raise efforts – notably, a donation of just $20 will pay for four family meals.

At the same time, we’re asking you to share your story of a restaurant or local spot that made the pandemic a bit more manageable – maybe you picked up a meal to celebrate your anniversary or needed a lavender latte on a Friday afternoon while you worked at home. Share it with us, and let’s celebrate the people and places that were there for us when we needed them most.

Cheers to ATL Family Meal!

Visit ATL Family Meal