Frequenters of the Atlanta BeltLine may have noticed brightly decorated shipping containers popping up alongside both the Eastside and Westside trails. Starting in August, these containers will begin selling food and drink as part of the BeltLine MarketPlace, a six-month pilot program designed give minority-owned small businesses a leg up in the competitive retail landscape.
More than 250 companies applied, and six were given grants to participate. Among them, Cococakes by Coco, vegan eatery Good As Burgers, and Grady Baby Co. apparel will reside under the Freedom Parkway bridge by the Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark along the Eastside Trail (830 Willoughby Way Northeast). Dope Coffee Co., Not As Famous Cookie Co., and PinkPothos plants will find a home about a mile from Pittsburgh Yards, along the Westside Trail (1089 Allen Avenue Southwest).
Here’s what you can expect to eat and drink on your next BeltLine adventure:
In business since 1996, Cococakes is led by baker Coco McDonald and his partner, Nicole. The McDonalds run a popular cake-to-go drive-thru in Tucker, where they sell “chunks,” or 2 ½ x 5-inch pieces of cake baked fresh onsite. They make chocolate, strawberry, lemon, buttery caramel, and 11 other varieties, and offer them alongside coffee and ice cream.
At the BeltLine location, patrons will be able to “Create Yo Chunk” with choice of base, frosting, and toppings like nuts and flavored drizzle. Each chunk starts at $5, plus $1-$2 per topping.
“It makes the cake experience personal,” Coco McDonald says.
However, for the indecisive folks, a few signature, pre-designed chunks will be featured. All offerings will be packaged for easy travel, but can also be enjoyed alongside the trail.
Cornoy Watkins was inspired to try a plant-based diet after living in L.A., where vegan culture reigns supreme, says his fiance and fellow Good As Burgers partner Talia Jones. During the heart of the Covid-19 pandemic, Watkins spent a good deal of time in the kitchen, testing sandwiches and sauces using vegan ingredients. He fell in love with the Beyond burger and created a vegan play on McDonalds’ Big Mac sauce, and Good As Burgers (GAB’S) was born.
The pair use a ghost kitchen in West Midtown to make and sell vegan burgers, Chick’n tenders, sloppy Joes, sloppy Joe cheese fries, strawberry cheesecake, and brownie bites for delivery or pickup. They launched a food truck and are opening a commercial space in Summerhill. And now they have a graffiti-laden shipping container spot on the BeltLine, too.
“We want something for the plant-based community and for carnivores who just want to be a little healthier or try something different,” Jones says. “Anything on the BeltLine is amazing—it’s one of the most prominent locations to be in Atlanta!”
GABS on the BeltLine will soon be serving Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Next month, they’ll add first-come, first-serve outdoor seating, Jones says.
“We’re told there will be other opportunities once the six months is up. I’m excited to see what comes from that.”
Created by Ashley Carlton in 2015, Not As Famous sells nine flavors of fresh-baked cookies, along with cookie skillets, ice cream sandwiches, and cookie shakes. With two food trucks and a brick-and-mortar in Smyrna, Carlton says he’s looking forward to expanding his reach to the southside of Atlanta.
“The BeltLine seems like a great place to be,” he says. “It’ll be more grab-and-go, more high-volume foot traffic.”
The Westside shipping container will offer water, soda, and ice cream floats, in addition to the cookies—known for their crunchy exterior and soft interior. Popular flavors include chocolate chip, red velvet, and birthday cake; while peach cobbler, chocolate cookie butter, and peanut butter chocolate chip pretzel are seasonal features.
Carlton, whose father developed the recipes when he was a child, says his cookies stand out because “we don’t cut corners with ingredients.”
Note: Since publication, Dope Coffee has withdrawn from the BeltLine Marketplace project. Instead, the company will be opening a roasting facility and cold brew bar in Decatur.
Touting culture as much as coffee, Dope is a hip-hop brand—and a coffee and gift shop.
“We are on a mission to bridge the worlds of coffee, hip-hop, and culture,” its website reads. “We are here to elevate and uplift Black culture while serving great coffee to great people.”
Expect Ethiopian iced coffee, a hip-hop album called Spinach, and merchandise like Dope coffee mugs featuring a drawing of a Black astronaut. There will be Guatemalan coffee beans, pour-over sets, coffee grinders, and coffee-infused sweetener syrup. Coffee-scented candles, face and body scrub, and beard and scalp serum will be for sale, too.
Don’t want to carry it all home? Dope products are also available through its website.