It started with buttermilk. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit back in March, Chef Linton Hopkins, founder of Hopkins & Co.—which includes C. Ellet’s, Holeman & Finch Public House, H&F Burger, Holeman & Finch Bottle Shop, and Hop’s Chicken—consolidated his inventory from his many restaurants and commissary bakery. He realized he had way too much food, considering most of his restaurants were temporarily closed.
“It was like whoa—look at all this food! What am I going to do with all this buttermilk?” he says. “I had $9,000 in prime steaks.”
So he built a nonprofit called Good Food Works and started cooking for healthcare workers and those in need. But then what for the businesses? In light of the pandemic, what would people be looking for?
“We thought about what the community needed now,” he says. “We decided to merge all our voices into one team. Everything we make and distribute through our restaurants, we’re [now] selling in this one channel.”
That channel is the Buttery ATL, an online marketplace with 160 food products, from raw ingredients to fully prepared meals.
“We’re product artisans first,” Hopkins explains. “We are makers, bartenders, craft distillers, cheese makers, butchers, pastry chefs, and bakers.”
Expect pastries from executive pastry chef Jen Yee, meals from executive chef James Wyatt (previously of Restaurant Eugene), and breads from head baker David Garcia. There will be freshly prepared salads and sandwiches, along with house-made jams, locally sourced cheeses, and Eugene & Elizabeth’s margarita mix. Hopkins loves muffaletta, so get ready for one on Garcia’s bread with the Spotted Trotter’s salami and Hopkins’s relish. There may be a half chicken sous vided and ready for the grill. Have a sweet tooth? Yee’s cookies will be sold both as dough and fully baked.
Hopkins estimates about half of the items for sale will be ingredients and about half will be prepared foods. Many of them will change based on seasonality. At launch, there will be 160 items for sale, but Hopkins has upwards of 230 on his inventory list.
“The time we spend sourcing is extraordinary, and you’ll have access to that,” Hopkins says. “You get to buy our entire walk-in of dry storage. You’ll be able to get an amazing cheese that’s only available three months a year. We’ll even sell you our bacon bits.”
The Buttery will deliver every Tuesday through Saturday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. within a four-mile radius of its commissary kitchen, 2137 Manchester Street NE. Orders must be placed 48 hours in advance. The first orders will be delivered August 25. Select items will also be for sale at Holeman & Finch Bottle Shop and Lucy’s Market in Buckhead. The Buttery will have a booth at the Peachtree Road Farmer’s Market beginning August 29.
“With kids at home, there’s no way to cook from scratch all the time. Let’s have it done for you.” Hopkins says, noting that he could see a line of fresh pureed fruit and vegetable baby food in the future. “We want to be a part of families’ lives every day.”
Despite the obvious connection to the dairy product, the Buttery was actually named after the medieval term for pantry. Hopkins wants the Buttery to be an extension of Atlantans’ pantries for the long term.
“There’s a need for better prepared foods—fresher without preservatives,” he says. “This is forever.”
As for the restaurants in his company? They’ll source from the Buttery, too. That includes the relocated Holeman & Finch Public House in Colony Square, opening in April. It could even include Eugene and Elizabeth’s—the more casual restaurant originally slated to replace Restaurant Eugene.
“Will it have a freestanding brick and mortar location? The answers are ‘I don’t know’ and ‘we’ll see,’” Hopkins says. “If the right space comes up. Maybe we’ll find a retail home [for the Buttery] or a little café extension with umbrellas.”