After opening her flower bar and plant shop last year in the South Atlanta neighborhood of Joyland, Quianah Upton is preparing to take the next step in evolving Nourish Botanica into Atlanta’s first sustainable greenhouse restaurant. In early March, Upton launches the next phase of the business, a restaurant incubator serving coffee, tea, and juices and a mostly vegan menu of Caribbean and Southern dishes from local pop-ups and chefs.
Located at the corner of Pryor Road and Thornton Street, a half mile south of the Southside Beltline trail, Nourish Botanica will eventually feature the plant shop along with a cafe and kitchen and a large backyard where Upton plans to construct gardens and the greenhouse and dining space. Until the kitchen and cafe are fully built out, pop-ups like Meraki Soul and the Powerplant will prepare food at off-site commercial kitchens to serve on the weekends at Nourish Botanica. Look for coffee from pop-ups Recuerdos, Tan Brown Coffee, and Rainbow Calypso on the weekends, too, starting in March.
Upton, who grew up in a food insecure area of southern Florida, first found her voice as an activist through art as the founder of Nourish in Black, an Atlanta-based sustainable events and storytelling company dedicated to raising social consciousness and sparking conversations around food injustice. She sees the plant shop, the garden events and dinners, and cafe and pop-up incubator at Nourish Botanica as a continuation of this activism. For Upton, Nourish Botanica is rooted in Black joy, community, and nurturing body, mind, and spirit through food and nature.
Bolstered by Upton’s quiet determination and patience, she took her time finding the right people within the community to help expand the business and bring the vision for Nourish Botanica to life. This is especially true of the cafe and pop-up incubator, she says, given the state of flux in the restaurant industry since the pandemic began three years ago. It’s important to Upton to offer the Joyland community a truly sustainable business, one that provides people with longterm access to healthy food, including hosting free community breakfasts each month.
Over the next year, Upton plans to offer residencies at Nourish Botanica to local food pop-ups, chefs, and bartenders who want to experiment with sustainable food and vegetarian and vegan dishes and drinks centered on Caribbean and Southern flavors. Like Nourish Botanica, Upton says, the menu for the cafe and pop-ups will continue evolving to meet the needs of the community in order to keep food accessible and “culturally relevant.” Hours will likely expand beyond the weekends later in the year and the permanent cafe could open by the end of 2023.
Until the pop-up incubator launches on March 4, people can visit the plant shop and flower bar at Nourish Botanica, where Upton sells dried flower arrangements, herbs and herbal remedies, and flowers and plants from local farmers. She hopes to eventually begin growing some of her own flowers, herbs, and plants in the backyard and greenhouse to sell at the shop.
As a preview of what’s to come at the Joyland cafe, vegan food pop-up the Powerplant is teaming up with Nourish Botanica to host a Valentine’s Day dinner at the Pryor Road plant shop Monday, February 13. Tickets are $75 per person and include five courses with alcoholic or non-alcoholic pairings.
Beginning March 4, Nourish Botanica opens Saturdays, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. for food; Sundays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with coffee. Plant shop currently open Wednesday - Sunday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
1651 Pryor Road, Atlanta. nourishbotanica.cafe.