School Meals and Free Dining: How the Roswell restaurant community has stepped up in the face of COVID-19

Smriti Tayal, Director of Design

Roswell restaurants are pulling together in light of the situation to help out the community by providing meals for local school children and the food insecure. Amidst the unknown future of their businesses, these local owners are doing everything to safely provide fresh and delicious meals to the community of Roswell. 

The vision for our restaurants has always been a community rally point. I think a restaurant really achieves its mission when it’s viewed as a community pillar.”

— Pernice

Recently, Mike and Christy Thomas, the owners of Wild Slice pizzeria, which unfortunately had to close its doors earlier this year, created a program called the School Meal Program. This program helps provide meals for kids from the seven local schools in and around Roswell. “We are one of many other options for meals. We are just doing our part,” said Thomas in an interview with the AJC. 


The program brings together 15 different north Fulton restaurants that are able to continue their business by selling gift cards to the public. With the money made by selling gift cards they are able to produce up to 70 meals twice a week. Customers wanting to help these businesses are able to purchase gift cards online or over the phone. Some of these restaurants are local favorites such as Gracious Plenty and Fickle Pickle. 


Another favorite local restaurant has also opened its doors to helping the food insecure: Table and Main. From Tuesday to Sunday every week, the restaurant will be providing hot meals from 12-4 p.m. where those who are in need of a meal can grab one (no questions asked). The meals will be available until supplies last. In order to help Table and Main keep providing these free meals to the community, the restaurant is taking donations through the app Venmo to the owner-operator, Ryan Pernice, or by a check during the service window. 


“The vision for our restaurants has always been a community rally point. I think a restaurant really achieves its mission when it’s viewed as a community pillar,” said Pernice. 


Due to the economic crisis, Pernice had to lay off 80 of his 120 workers, but in order to still provide work for the remaining staff and put the kitchen to work he decided to provide help and comfort in a time of panic. “Knowing that we had the resources to do this we thought we can help so we should help,” said Pernice.


It’s in times of a crisis where the beauty of a community is revealed. Roswell restaurants have not failed to show their good faith and commitment to helping those in need. Senior Saima Firoj’s family are beloved restaurant owners here in Roswell. She shared her thoughts on why it is so important for the community to pull together in times like this. “With all the economic turmoil that COVID-19 has caused, small businesses are some of the hardest hit institutions, so it’s more important than ever to support local small businesses. We’re so grateful for the customers that have stuck with us through the good times and the bad ones, and their support is what keeps us running, which is true always but especially in times like these,” said Firoj. 

Table and Main
Help these local businesses provide meals to the food insecure and school kids by buying their gift cards or donating directly to the restaurant.

In order to help out these restaurants, please consider donating or buying gift cards from them so that they can maintain these efforts. The whole community is pulling together to help our own in need and aid these amazing businesses that are essential to the essence of Roswell.