SeaStrawsCo client grown is a Miami based restaurant offering organic and health-centric fast food. Shannon Allen, the restaurant’s owner, mother of five, and wife of two-time NBA champion Ray Allen, shared with us how Grown has adjusted to the COVID-19 reality as the restaurant continued to serve high quality meals to Miami’s foodies throughout the pandemic.
Grown is currently operating through pickup and delivery only. This decision regarding their operations was based with the safety and comfortability of their guests and team members in mind. Shannon shared: “With COVID cases trending upward right now in Florida; we aren’t in a rush to open our dining room back up for eat-in service. Our mission and raison d’etre is to contribute to the health and wellbeing of our community. Opening prematurely doesn’t speak to our ‘why’.”
Although many restrictions around the country have been eased, taking precautions as a restaurant owner is necessary to ensure the safety of her team. “I think people are anxious to get things “back to normal” and I completely understand that, personally,” says Shannon. But with the well-being of her team in mind, Shannon believes that “as the captain of our ship, I’m not only responsible for providing delicious, freshly prepared breakfasts, lunches and dinners made with USDA certified organic ingredients to our guests; I’m responsible to the 40 families whose loved ones dedicate their days to power our mission.” And grown is “committed to social distancing protocols until the risk has significantly decreased.”
Restrictions placed under the pandemic forced restaurants to rethink their modes of operations and come with creative takeout options. Grown’s to-go family-style meals are perfect for fun and safe family dinners. “Family style meals have always been an integral part of grown’s DNA since we opened our doors on March 25th, 2016,” shared Shannon. Family style meals were introduced to Grown’s menu as Shannon had “the dream of reinventing fast food” and desire to create the thing she wished existed. “I have a large family- my husband and I and our 5 children. Being able to visit a drive thru window to purchase a family style meal- a slow roasted organic free range chicken with sweet mash and Brussels sprouts was a fantasy,” describes Shannon. She is “not sure why more concepts haven’t gravitated toward family style meals,” but in her opinion, “coronavirus has definitely solidified the concept.” And our SeaTeam shares this view and looks forward to more places following Grown’s example of serving favorite meals in a comfort-giving family style.
Foodservice businesses affected by the pandemic are still coping with the consequences of restaurant closures and decreased flow of clients. Times like these showed the importance of showing support and standing up together for a cause. Shannon believes that “folks have done an amazing job supporting the concepts they love. People are paying attention; they know how bad it is for restaurants and restaurant workers.” Indeed, many continue supporting their local food businesses through takeout orders and since recently through in-person dining. Shannon emphasizes, “you cannot ignore the numbers- almost 40M unemployed; 16M of whom are restaurant and bar workers. This is our heartbreaking reality and I believe that for those that can afford to continue to purchase delivery, takeout- they are doing their damndest to keep their favorite spots in business.” According to Shannon, their team has “personally seen a tremendous amount of support from our grown loyalists and our community,” and they “are very grateful.”
The COVID-19 pandemic proved how crucial it is to actively support fellow community members and those with no resources to help themselves. To read Shannon Allen’s message on standing as allies to fight discrimination, denounce white supremacy and demand justice for police brutality against the Black community, click here.
This article first appeared in our Recurrent email newsletter on July 1, 2020. To subscribe to Recurrent and receive a story from our sustainable hospitality community every Wednesday, click here.