Thursday, March 18, 2010

Treat Your Belly Well

If you read my first post, you'll understand why I named my blog "Why I Consume Art."  And if you understand that, you'll get why I'm writing about Belly General Store.

As Belly's tagline - Simple Decadence - suggests, the store is a fun study in contrasts.

Belly is both old and new.  The marble counter, rustic benches, and even the logo, at once early 20th century and retro, pay homage to the original, 1914 soda fountain pharmacy that inhabited the little corner space.  Yet, Belly bursts with fresh, cheerful colors that change with the seasons and pop against those time-faded antiques.  The aesthetics feel old-fashioned, yet current.
Belly makes its own pesto, peanut butter, pickles, preserves, and pretty much everything else including the unquestionably best bagels in Georgia.  The vegetables are organic, the award-winning cupcakes are as beautiful as they are delicious, and the orange juice is fresh-squeezed.  But this is lunch food.  And it's served in a small sunny space where most patrons purchase their sandwiches to go, biting into them on their way out the door and off to the office, park, or pool.  My own Belly bagels are usually eaten on someone's doorstep.  Belly is serving something special, yet unpretentious.
Beyond the tangible contrasts, Belly understands the importance of intangible contrasts.  Belly learned from its predecessor.  The original Fleeman's Pharmacy was, literally, a cornerstone of the little Virginia Highlands community.  It brought people together to sit and socialize at its little soda fountain, sometimes for an hour, sometimes, in the case of couples who met there and married, for life.  Belly respects the tradition of community and quality, but does so in a forward-thinking manner, providing the most thoughtful experience in sight, smell, touch, sound, and taste it can.  So, Belly General Store is art.  Go enjoy it!

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