Soul food chef added a grocery store to his restaurant to provide healthy and locally sourced foods to a community that is in a food desert.
HOUSTON, TX, (April 2020) – Chef Jonny opened Indigo restaurant just two years ago, and it was an immediate success in the area. Rhodes has always wanted to open a grocery store as well and that the current COVID-19 pandemic crisis really pushed him towards fulfilling that desire.
“You think about this pandemic that’s going on, one of the things you see is that grocery stores can’t keep things on the shelves,” Chef Jonny said in an interview with CultureMap. “Over here, there are no shelves to be empty, because there are no grocery stores. Instead of there being empty shelves, there are empty bellies.”
The city-wide dine-in ban inspired the husband-and-wife duo of Jonny and Chana Rhodes to kick things into action.
“Our mission is to combat food apartheid & food inequality whilst inspiring the community to cook at home with the use of our fine soul food preserves, condiments, and sauces,” the team wrote on Instagram about the new project.
“Since this has taken place, a lot of them are surviving on chips, soda, candy. That’s only going to make what’s going on right now worse. Now, you don’t have the immune system to fight it off, because we’re poisoning ourselves. We just want to be able to provide [an alternative].”
The grocery store, which opened on April 1st, features various products from the restaurant such as different flavors of soda, jams, preserves, deli meat, bread, desserts, and other items. However, they are also selling fresh produce sourced from local farms.
So that no jobs are lost, the goods at Broham Fine Soul Food & Groceries will be made in the Indigo kitchen, which allows Rhodes to continue supporting his staff. Chef Jonny has also trained his restaurant staff on how to run a grocery store, when needed. They double as waiters and cooks to cashiers and stockers. The plan is to also sell fresh produce from Indigo’s garden and farm, supplemented with produce from local farms.
Follow the store on Instagram @broham_groceries