If there are two things we love, they’re food and supporting locally owned businesses. These passions combine here as we spotlight some of the South’s most compelling locally owned groceries that double as restaurants … you can stop in for a bite to eat and grab some groceries — often locally made — to take with you. Grocery-restaurants combine local ingredients and products to offer their respective communities small, specialty food markets coupled with a unique dining experience.
Supporting small, local businesses has never been so appealing (and tasty). Here are some of our favorite grocery-restaurants around the South, from brand new businesses to nearly 100-year-old establishments. Next time you find yourself in one of these cities, make plans to stop in!
Swamp Rabbit Cafe & Grocery | Greenville, SC
Located on Greenville’s Swamp Rabbit Trail, this little gem is all about local love. A cafe/bakery/grocery hybrid, Swamp Rabbit prides itself on using and selling as many local goods as possible. At least half of the grocery’s inventory comes from within a 150-mile radius, and the menu is overflowing with delicious and creative options made from scratch with fresh ingredients. Select from items like the cinnamon bun roll, made with homemade brioche, organic sugars, local eggs and Cabot butter ($3) or something slightly more exotic, like the pogacha, which features chard, carrot, beet, onion and garlic ($6). Affordable prices, an impressive menu and the heart for all-things-local make this a stop worth making.
Swamp Rabbit Cafe & Grocery is open Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Standard Foods | Raleigh, NC
On the brand new end of things is Standard Foods, a grocery-restaurant that opened in October 2015 after months of teasing and hints about what the business would look like. So far, the restaurant has received rave reviews for its food and philosophy — reintroducing people to food and methods that are traditional to the region.
Everything about this place is native to North Carolina or the South — the bar serves North Carolina beer, and the menu includes North Carolina seafood and locally grown wheat. The only thing not native is Chef Scott Crawford, who grew up in Pennsylvania farm country.
Standard Foods features a variety of menu items, which rotate regularly, but you’ll never find anything with roots outside the South. Some items of note from recent menus are the apple granita, duck porridge and butternut parsnip soufflé.
Standard Foods is changing the restaurant scene in Raleigh, and we can’t wait to see what pops up on the menu next. The restaurant is open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Enjoy dinner Tuesday through Thursday, 5:30 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5:30 to 11 p.m. The bar is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to “late.” And the grocery is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Southernaire Market | Nashville, TN
Located in the bustling SoBro neighborhood, Southernaire Market is a sister store to The Southern Steak & Oyster restaurant. Featuring fresh, quality products, Southernaire Market has incredible food that’s as convenient as a drive-thru, but with the quality and atmosphere of restaurant dining.
The Creole-inspired menu is full of delicious options — soups, salads, paninis and gumbo, to name a few — that are cooked fresh in-store. Southernaire also sells French-pressed coffee and has a delivery service if you can’t find the time to get there. All the convenience and quality you need, right in the heart of downtown Nashville.
Southernaire Market is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Sunday, 12 to 5:30 p.m.
Hillside Farmacy | Austin, TX
With the charm of your grandparents’ kitchen and the style of a trendy bistro, Hillside Farmacy has delectable menu options at a wide range of prices. Their breakfast meals are available until 3 p.m., if you really like to sleep in, but the entire day’s menu is loaded with fantastic dishes.
Fresh salads, hot sandwiches and homemade fountain sodas are just a few of the items you can buy. The “Big Brekkie,” which is two eggs, bacon, home fries and toast, is perfect for your weekend brunch cravings.
After 3 p.m., happy hour starts and the nighttime menu comes into play, offering full-size, gourmet entrées and plenty of libations. All the food on the menu comes from local farms, and Hillside Farmacy touts its commitment to quality ingredients. Hillside Farmacy is open Sunday through Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Little’s Food Store | Atlanta, GA
Little’s has been a staple of the Cabbagetown neighborhood in Atlanta for nearly a century, first opening its doors in 1929. Hard times befell the local shop when the owners couldn’t afford much-needed renovations at the end of 2013. But the community refused to let the business go under and quickly raised well over $20,000 for repairs.
Today, Little’s is thriving and offers Atlanta the best food and products available. It’s known for its burgers, but Little’s sandwiches and homemade biscuits are equally delicious. The grocery side has plenty of local favorites, including fresh bread, and a great beer and wine selection.
Although the business has changed hands in its 87 years, the fundamentals remain the same as the current owners strive to keep Little’s legacy going. Little’s is open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Pinewood Store & Market | Nunnelly, TN
A few minutes off the interstate in the quiet town of Nunnelly, TN, is the Pinewood Store & Market. The farm-to-table restaurant isn’t what one might expect from this tiny, rural town, but it’s truly farm-fresh food — it actually travels from the farm right across the street! If it’s not in season, it’s not on the menu.
The food choices here are endless and always changing. Some great options are the falafel sandwich, mini sliders, house salad or the pizza, which you can buy by the slice.
Originally a gas station and market, Pinewood has been around since the 1920s. Today, it’s a hip little place to grab lunch, hear some live music or pick up a few groceries. Learn more on the website or visit Pinewood’s Facebook page. Pinewood is open Tuesday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., with live music on Saturday, from 4 to 7 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with sandwiches and homemade pizza from 3 to 6 p.m.
Foster’s Market | Durham, NC
When Sara Foster and Peter Sellers moved to Durham, NC, and opened Foster’s Market in 1990, they had no way of knowing their business would become so successful. Twenty-five years later, the market does it all — it’s a grocery store, a restaurant, a coffee shop and a catering company. Plus, co-owner Sara Foster is more than just a namesake; she’s also written five cookbooks (complimented by Martha Stewart, no less), maintains a blog on the market’s website and creates innovative recipes customers love.
Foster’s focuses on making fresh, delectable meals that use quality ingredients. The menu changes daily, with new omelettes, casseroles, pancakes, soups, sandwiches and more to try from the kitchen. Check their Facebook page for daily offerings. Foster’s Market is open seven days a week, from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Earl’s Grocery | Charlotte, NC
With an ever-changing menu showcasing the best of what’s in season, Earl’s is a true gem in the Charlotte food scene. Owned by Bonnie Warford and Tricia Maddrey, who also own Carpe Diem, a fine-dining establishment in Charlotte, Earl’s is the more approachable, affordable sibling with no less class. For example, you can get a plate of blueberry French toast with maple syrup and bacon for $5.99, a breakfast taco for $4.99 or a harvest salad that’s packed with tasty ingredients like roasted beets, kale and seasoned pumpkin seeds for $8.99. Choose from prepared foods, the menu or just grab a coffee drink. The groceries are hand picked and include everything from craft beer and wine to ice cream, cheese and grass-fed jerky.
Earl’s Grocery is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Bull Street Gourmet & Market | Charleston, SC
Charleston residents know Bull Street Gourmet & Market well. The first location opened on Bull Street in 2006, but the grocery/restaurant has since expanded to include two more shops in South Carolina. Its success and popularity are not hard to explain — diners can’t stop coming back for more.
The grocery sells gourmet foods, wine, beer and fresh produce, while the restaurant specializes in made-to-order sandwiches, soups and salads. Everything is fresh and affordable (most menu items are less than $10), and Bull Street strives to use and sell as many local ingredients and foods as possible.
We recommend you test out Bull Street Gourmet’s Famous Chicken Salad Sandwich or the healthy beet salad, but you really can’t go wrong with anything here. All locations are open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Enjoy your meal wherever your travels take you. And if you spot a Southern grocery/restaurant we missed, take some pictures and tag us on Instagram, @StyleBlueprint.