Named the #1 Best Restaurant in Atlanta by Atlanta Magazine in 2019, Southern spot Miller Union was flying high going into 2020. James Beard Award-winning executive chef Steven Satterfield and co-owner, general manager, and sommelier Neal McCarthy became well known for a brand of warm hospitality that catered to both everyday meals and major celebrations.
So when COVID-19 hit and they closed their dining room on March 15th, Satterfield and McCarthy scrambled to adapt and survive. They were grateful to be tapped by the Atlanta Hawks Foundation and State Farm to cook meals for frontline workers at Emory Healthcare’s hospital system for seven weeks, allowing them to keep their staff employed. But they knew that was only a short term fix while they planned for what was next.
“We targeted June 1st for our relaunch and spent the whole month of May in planning mode,” says Satterfield. “We were figuring out how to build more outdoor areas and create socially distanced spaces inside.” Cautiously optimistic that diners would return, the team was thrilled to see a good response when they reopened. “We were doing pretty well for June,” says Satterfield. “We did some takeout, but we were really focused on driving dine-in business.”
But the dine-in boom was short-lived when many southern states saw a spike in COVID-19 cases. “We started looking at more ways that we could push takeout because we felt like this is where we had to go in order to stay relevant,” says Satterfield.