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The Largest Selection of Wholesale Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Products in Atlanta

When it comes to trying new, exciting cuisine, few foods hit the spot like a deliciously fresh Mediterranean meal. However, we know that it can be very difficult to find authentic Mediterranean grocery wholesalers in Atlanta, GA. Having lived in metro Atlanta for years, we realized that our customers needed an easy way to find quality wholesale Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food in bulk. That is why we created Nazareth Grocery Mediterranean Market - to give everyone a chance to enjoy tasty, healthy food, desserts, and authentic Mediterranean gifts at wholesale prices.

Founded in 2009, Nazareth Grocery has become one of Atlanta's leading international wholesale grocery stores. We are very proud to serve our customers and do everything in our power to give them the largest selection of high-quality wholesale goods available.

If you're looking for the freshest, most delicious Middle Eastern wholesale products and ingredients, you will find them here at the best prices in the state. We encourage you to swing by our store in Marietta to see our selection for yourself. We think that you will be impressed!

The Nazareth Difference

At Nazareth Grocery Mediterranean Market, our mission is simple: bring you and your family the largest selection of wholesale Mediterranean products in Atlanta. When coupled with our helpful, friendly staff and authentic Middle Eastern atmosphere, it's easy to see why we are the top Middle Eastern grocery wholesaler in Atlanta, GA. We're proud to carry just about every kind of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern product that you can think of, from prepared meals and hookahs to fine seasonings and sweets. We're here for our customers and want each one of them to have a unique, one-of-a-kind experience when they shop with us.

Our loyal customers love our selection of the following wholesale foods and gifts:

  • Fresh Breads
  • OlivesOlives
  • HummusHummus
  • CheesesCheeses
  • SaucesSauces
  • Savory-FoodsSavory Foods
  • DessertsDesserts
  • DrinksDrinks
  • HookahsHookahs
  • TobaccoTobacco
  • SaucesGifts
  • Much More!Much More!

Our Service Areas

Most Popular Wholesale Mediterranean Foods

There is so much more to Mediterranean food than pizza and pasta. The perfect climate combined with delicious foods and amazing wine makes the Mediterranean incredibly irresistible. That's why our customers absolutely love to buy this kind of cuisine in bulk. Every country in this region has its own set of specialties and delicacies, each with its own flavors and styles of preparation.

Mediterranean countries include:

  • France
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Turkey
  • Syria
  • Egypt
  • Israel
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Tunisia
  • Spain
Mediterranean Grocery Atlanta, GA

So, when it comes to the most popular wholesale Mediterranean products in Atlanta,
what are we talking about?

 Mediterranean Supermarkets Atlanta, GA

Feta Cheese

Feta cheese is a classic Mediterranean dairy product that is often enjoyed on its own, in Greek salads, on bread, or mixed with zucchini. Depending on where the feta is sourced and produced, the cheese can be made from cow, sheep, or goat milk, or even a combination of the three. Regardless of the animal it comes from, this delicious cheese is a crowd favorite.

 Mediterranean Grocery Store Atlanta, GA

Baba Ganoush

This Levantine dish is one of the most well-known Mediterranean dishes to eat in the United States. It typically comes in the form of a dip, served with pita or another kind of dipping bread. Commonly served before dinner as an appetizer of sorts, it usually features tahini, eggplant, garlic, spices, and sometimes yogurt. This tasty cuisine works great as a spread on a sandwich, or you can even eat it with a spoon, all on its own.

 Middle Eastern Grocery Atlanta, GA

Baklava

If you have never tried authentic baklava before, get ready to have your mind blown. This dessert is a traditional Mediterranean food that will have your taste buds craving more and more. Once you open a box of baklava from our Mediterranean grocery wholesaler in Atlanta, GA, you won't want to stop eating! Baklava is made with layers of thin filo dough, which is layered together, filled with chopped nuts (think pistachios), and sealed with honey or syrup. Baklava is so good that its origins are debated, leaving many wondering which country invented the dessert. Everyone from the Turks to the Greeks and even Middle Easterners hold unique takes on baklava. Try each one to discover your favorite!

Most Popular Wholesale Middle Eastern Foods

Fresh, healthy, aromatic, rich: it's no wonder that the popularity of Middle Eastern cuisine and products has skyrocketed in the United States. This genre of cuisine features a large variety of foods, from Halvah to Labneh. If there were one common theme throughout all Middle Eastern food, it would be the bright, vibrant herbs and spices that are used. These flavorings help create rich, complex flavors that foodies fawn over. Typically, Middle Eastern food is piled high for all to eat, with enough food for an entire republic to put down.

 Mediterranean Food Stores Atlanta, GA

Tabbouleh

This refreshing, healthy dish is chock-full of greens, herbs, tomatoes, and bulgur (or cracked wheat), creating a memorable, bold flavor. This dish may be eaten on its own or paired with a shawarma sandwich or helping of falafel. It's best to buy your ingredients in bulk to make this dish because it tastes best freshly made with family around to enjoy. Just be sure to bring a toothpick to the tabbouleh party - you're almost certain to have some leafy greens stuck in your teeth after eating.

 Middle Eastern Market Atlanta, GA

Shawarma

We mentioned shawarma above, and for good reason - this dish is enjoyed by men and women around the world, and of course, right here in the U.S. Except for falafel, this might be the most popular Middle Eastern food item in history. Shawarma is kind of like a Greek gyro, with slow-roasted meat stuffed in laffa with veggies and sauce. The blend of spices and the smoky meat mix together to create a tangy, meaty flavor that you will want to keep eating for hours. For western-style shawarma, try using beef or chicken. For a more traditional meal, try using lamb from our Middle Eastern grocery distributor in Atlanta, GA.

 Greek Grocery Store Atlanta, GA

Hummus

Traditionally used as a dip meant for fresh pita, hummus is a combo of chickpeas, garlic, and tahini, blended together until silky, smooth, and creamy. You can find hummus in just about any appetizer section of a Middle Eastern restaurant menu. That's because it's considered a staple of Middle Eastern food that can be enjoyed by itself, as a spread, or with fresh-baked pita bread. Hummus is also very healthy, making it a no-brainer purchase from our grocery store.

Benefits of Eating a Mediterranean Diet

If there's one diet that is most well-known for its health benefits, it has got to be the Mediterranean diet. In 2019, U.S. News & World Report listed the Mediterranean diet as No. 1 on its best over diet list. This incredible diet has been cited to help with weight loss, brain health, heart health, diabetes prevention, and cancer prevention.

Whether you already love Mediterranean food or you're looking to make some positive changes in your life, this "diet" is for you. Eating cuisine like Greek food, Persian food, Turkish food, and Italian food is healthy and tastes great. Even better than that? At Nazareth Wholesale Grocery, we have many staples of the Mediterranean diet for sale in bulk so that you can stock up on your favorites at the best prices around.

So, what exactly is the Mediterranean diet?

It is a way of eating that incorporates traditional Greek, Italian, and other Mediterranean cultures' foods. These foods are often plant-based and make up the foundation of the diet, along with olive oil. Fish, seafood, dairy, and poultry are also included in moderation. Red meat and sweets are only eaten in moderation, not in abundance. Mediterranean food includes many forms of nuts, fruits, vegetables, fish, seeds, and more. Of course, you can find at them all at our wholesale Mediterranean grocery store!

Here are just a few of the many benefits of eating a healthy Mediterranean diet:

Reduced Risk of Heart Disease

Reduced Risk
of Heart Disease

Many studies have been conducted on this diet, many of which report that Mediterranean food is excellent for your heart. Some of the most promising evidence comes from a randomized clinical trial published in 2013. For about five years, researchers followed 7,000 men and women around the country of Spain. These people had type 2 diabetes or were at a high risk for cardiovascular disease. Participants in the study who ate an unrestricted Mediterranean diet with nuts and extra-virgin olive oil were shown to have a 30% lower risk of heart events.

Reduced Risk of Stroke for Women

Reduced Risk
of Stroke for Women

In addition to the heart-healthy benefits of a Mediterranean diet, studies have shown that eating healthy Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods can reduce the chances of stroke in women. The study was conducted in the U.K., which included women between the ages of 40 and 77. Women who stuck to the Mediterranean diet showed a lower risk of having a stroke - especially women who were at high risk of having one.

Benefits of Eating a Mediterranean Diet

First and foremost, purchase your Mediterranean and Middle Eastern wholesale foods from Nazareth Grocery - we're always updating our inventory! Getting started on this healthy, delicious diet is easy.

Try these tips:

Try these tips

1.

Instead of unhealthy sweets like candy and ice cream, try eating fresh fruit instead. It's refreshing, tasty, and often packed with great vitamins and nutrients.

2.

Try eating fish twice a week, in lieu of red meat. Fish is much healthier and doesn't have the unfortunate side effects of red meat, like inflammation.

3.

Try planning out your meals using beans, whole grains, and veggies. Don't start with meats and sweets.

4.

They're tasty, but try to avoid processed foods completely.

5.

Instead of using butter to flavor your food, use extra virgin olive oil instead. Olive oil contains healthy fats and tastes great too.

6.

Try to get more exercise and get out of the house. The Mediterranean lifestyle is an active one, best enjoyed in the beautiful sunshine when possible.

Why Buy Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Products Wholesale?

Buying wholesale and retail are quite different. When you buy products from a wholesaler, you're essentially buying from the middleman between a retail establishment and the manufacturer. Wholesale purchases are almost always made in bulk. Because of that, buyers pay a discounted price. That's great for normal buyers and great for business owners, who can sell those products to profit. This higher price is called the retail price, and it is what traditional customers pay when they enter a retail store.

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 Middle Eastern Store Atlanta, GA

Latest News in Atlanta, GA

Outdoor movies, Porchfest and more: 15 things to do in metro Atlanta this weekend

Looking for something fun to do this weekend in metro Atlanta? Chow down on some seafood in Powder Springs, enjoy all the thrills of a carnical in Loganville or listen to musicians play on porches throughout the Virginia-Highland neighborhood.Noon-5 p.m. Sunday, May 15. Free. Gardens throughout the Historic Midtown Garden District.Get inspired with a self-guided tour of some of Midtown’s most impressive private gardens. A market (located on Penn Avenue between 6th and 7th streets) will feature music, live painting demonst...

Looking for something fun to do this weekend in metro Atlanta? Chow down on some seafood in Powder Springs, enjoy all the thrills of a carnical in Loganville or listen to musicians play on porches throughout the Virginia-Highland neighborhood.

Noon-5 p.m. Sunday, May 15. Free. Gardens throughout the Historic Midtown Garden District.

Get inspired with a self-guided tour of some of Midtown’s most impressive private gardens. A market (located on Penn Avenue between 6th and 7th streets) will feature music, live painting demonstrations, local vendors, and food and drink.

10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, May 14 and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, May 15. Free admission. Chastain Park, 4469 Stella Drive NW, Atlanta.

Support some of the 185 local, regional and national artists displaying their wares for sale in this two-day festival. You’ll be able to view artist demonstrations, see live entertainment, participate in hands-on arts activities and sample festival food and beverages. The festival benefits a scholarship fund for local artists.

11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, May 14. Free to attend. VIP $100 for adults, $30 for kids under 12 (includes a catered lunch, cash bar, access to kids corner activities and more). Virginia-Highland neighborhood.

Explore the Virginia-Highland neighborhood with live music from 70 bands on 55 porches. Vendors and artists selling small, fun items will also be onsite.

Cobb

3 p.m.-9 p.m. Friday, May 13, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, May 14 and noon-5 p.m. Sunday, May 15. Free admission and parking. Thurman Springs Park, 4485 Pineview Drive, Powder Springs. 706-897-6179.

Buy food from a wide variety of seafood vendors, or try some offerings for “landlubbers.” The Gold Standard Band, the Georgia Blues Brothers and Chimere Scott (Timeless Tina Tribute) will perform.

6 p.m. (movie starts after sundown) Saturday, May 14. Free. Swift-Cantrell Park, 3140 Old 41 Hwy, Kennesaw.

Watch Walt Disney Pictures’ “Encanto” on a giant inflatable screen. Bring blankets or low-backed chairs. Before the movie, activities include games in front of the screen and inflatables. Food vendors and other activities are also available.

2 p.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, May 15. Free admission, register online. Marietta Educational Garden Center, 505 Kennesaw Ave., Marietta.

Bring the kids along to learn about bees from an expert beekeeper, tour the pollinator garden and enjoy crafts, activities, games, face painting and family photo ops in the garden.

DeKalb

11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, May 14. $25 general registration includes one drink ticket, T-shirt and all games. Legacy Park, 500 S. Columbia Drive, Decatur.

Field day fun shouldn’t be only for kids, so head out to Adult Field Day for food, drinks, horseshoes, Giant Jenga, Connect Four, cornhole, a zumba dance party and a kickball tournament.

7 p.m.-9 p.m. Friday, May 13. Free. Municipal Parking Lot, Main Street, Stone Mountain Village.

Bring a lawn chair and listen to music from Heather Luttrell & the Possum Den, who play blues, Americana and folk music. Beer, wine and soft drinks will be available for purchase.

3:45 p.m. Sunday, May 15. Free. Village Burger, Dunwoody Village, 1426 Dunwoody Village Parkway, Dunwoody.

Join a 4.5-mile bike ride and stay afterward to socialize. Helmets are required.

North Fulton

7 p.m. Saturday, May 14 and 4 p.m. Sunday, May 15. $7.50-$10. Aurora Cineplex, 5100 Commerce Parkway, Roswell. 770-618-0977.

Relive the silliness of the classic comedy “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” If you’d like even more fun, come early and wear a costume, clank coconuts and ride invisible horses.

7 p.m. Friday, May 13. $39.50 and up. Ameris Bank Amphitheatre, 2200 Encore Parkway, Alpharetta. 404-733-5010.

Catch country superstar Tim McGraw’s 2022 tour as he welcomes guests Russell Dickerson, Alexandra Kay and Brandon Davis.

3:30 p.m.-4:45 p.m. (instrument petting zoo), 5 p.m. (concert). Sunday, May 15. Free. Alpharetta Arts Center, 238 Canton St., Alpharetta. 678-740-3554.

Listen to the music of the Alpharetta Youth Symphony Orchestra as they perform their last concert of their season. Bring the kids early for an instrument petting zoo where they can touch and learn about the different types of instruments.

Gwinnett

5 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday, May 13, 2 p.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, May 14, and 2 p.m.-10 p.m. Sunday, May 15. Free admission, tickets needed for rides. Unlimited ride wristbands are $25 in advance, $30 at the gate. Field next to Loganville City Hall, 4303 Lawrenceville Road, Loganville.

Enjoy all the dizzying rides and fried foods that help make carnivals special.

10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, May 14. Gwinnett Place Mall, 2100 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth. 770-513-5119.

Celebrate Gwinnett’s vibrant cultures and customs with diverse performances, dances, face paintings, obstacle courses, bounce houses and more. Car seat checks will also be available, and you’ll get to meet county employees and learn about Gwinnett’s services.

7 p.m.-9 p.m. Friday, May 13. Free. Lawrenceville Lawn, 210 Luckie St., Lawrenceville. 678-407-6663.

Bring a blanket and sit on the lawn to watch “Freaky Friday.” Food trucks selling treats will be onsite.

Baby Formula Shortages In Georgia: FDA Working 'Around The Clock'

According to the Georgia Dept. of Public Health?, manufacturers are experiencing supply chain issues, contributing to the formula shortage.GEORGIA — A serious shortage in baby formula continues to be a source of major stress for new parents across Georgia. Faced with empty or nearly bare shelves, some moms in the Peach State have turned to social media in desperation, hoping someone may have extra formula to spare.Meanwhile, federal officials this week laid out steps being taken to address the ...

According to the Georgia Dept. of Public Health?, manufacturers are experiencing supply chain issues, contributing to the formula shortage.

GEORGIA — A serious shortage in baby formula continues to be a source of major stress for new parents across Georgia. Faced with empty or nearly bare shelves, some moms in the Peach State have turned to social media in desperation, hoping someone may have extra formula to spare.

Meanwhile, federal officials this week laid out steps being taken to address the national baby formula shortage, which is tightening in Georgia.

So why the shortage in the first place? In a statement to 11Alive, the Georgia Department of Public Health said that formula manufacturers are experiencing logistical issues with ensuring stock is maintained in stores.

"They continue to work through these supply chain issues," the department told the TV station.

The Dougherty County Health Department in south Georgia didn't mince words, blaming the limited formula on stores shelves on a food supply shortage.

Massive Abbott Nutrition recalls of certain lots of the popular Similac, Alimentum and EleCare brands of baby formula are also contributing to the shortage, economists say.

In the first week of May, baby formula out-of-stock rates were 43 percent, up from 40 percent at the end of April and 30 percent at the beginning of that month, according to Datasembly, a data analysis firm that looked at baby formula supplies at 11,000 U.S. retail locations.

More than half of states reported out-of-stock rates between 40 percent and 50 percent.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday it is working to resolve infant formula shortages that started almost a year ago due to supply chain issues. Until supplies can be replenished, parents who can't find formula are urged to work with their local food banks and pediatricians.

Asked about the shortage on Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters the agency was working "around the clock." Psaki highlighted specific steps the agency is taking to address the shortage, including working with manufacturers to increase production, optimize supply lines and increase product sizes. The agency is also trying to make it easier to import formula and is taking steps to increase supply, especially for specialized formula, Psaki said.

Major drugstores and other retailers in Georgia, including CVS, Walgreens and Target, have placed limits on the amount of formula customers can buy.

The recalled baby formulas were produced in Sturgis, Michigan, at Abbott's largest manufacturing plant, which was shuttered in February due to contamination concerns. Formula produced at the plant was linked to two infant deaths, prompting an investigation by the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The recall especially hurt parents who rely on WIC (Women, Infants, and Children), a special supplemental nutrition program. Abbott brands are among those covered by the WIC program, and the company's woes have trickled down to consumers.

FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert M. Califf said in a statement on the agency's website that it recognizes consumers "are frustrated" by the shortages and that "ensuring the availability of safe, sole-source nutrition products like infant formula is of the utmost importance to the FDA."

Among the solutions the agency is exploring are streamlining paperwork and opening the door for more baby formula imports.

Pediatricians warn against DIY formulas or watering down formula, which can cause seizures in infants.

"It is a particular worry about parents doing substitutes or trying to stretch the formula out," Dr. Magna Dias, a pediatrician and associate professor at Yale School of Medicine, told NPR last month. "And there's a couple of worries there. One — your baby may not be getting enough nutrition if you're not giving them all the calories that they need.

"And then the other thing is that babies — when they're little, their kidneys are not mature. And for that reason, they need that perfect formulation. Otherwise, it could actually cause them to get very sick and have to come to the hospital."

Pediatricians say breast milk is best for infants, but if that's not an option, formula is the best option.

"For babies who are not being breastfed, this is the only thing they eat," Dr. Steven Abrams, of the University of Texas, Austin, told The Associated Press. "So it has to have all of their nutrition and, furthermore, it needs to be properly prepared so that it's safe for the smallest infants."

Switching brands is OK for most healthy infants, but parents whose babies need specialized formulas should talk to their health care providers before making a change, pediatricians advise.

To address the shortages, Chicago-based Abbott is increasing production at its other manufacturing plants, and is bringing jet loads of formula from its plants in Ireland to the United States.

"Unfortunately, many of those very specialized formulas are only made in the United States at the factory that had the recall, and that's caused a huge problem for a relatively small number of infants," Abrams said.

The FDA said Abbott is still working "to rectify findings related to the processes, procedures and conditions." Other infant formula makers are "meeting or exceeding capacity levels to meet current demand," the agency said.

The Associated Press contributed reporting.

Inflation Eases Slightly: How It Affects Georgia

Prices for many necessities continue to cause pain for Georgia residents. Here's what inflation currently looks like in the Peach State.GEORGIA — A new government report Wednesday shows inflation eased slightly in April, but prices for many necessities continue to cause pain for Georgia residents.Prices rose 8.3 percent compared to April 2021, and 0.3 percent compared to March, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics repo...

Prices for many necessities continue to cause pain for Georgia residents. Here's what inflation currently looks like in the Peach State.

GEORGIA — A new government report Wednesday shows inflation eased slightly in April, but prices for many necessities continue to cause pain for Georgia residents.

Prices rose 8.3 percent compared to April 2021, and 0.3 percent compared to March, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report. The April-over-March increase in the Consumer Price Index was the smallest monthly increase in seven months.

The biggest increases were for shelter, food, airfares and new cars. Nationally, food prices were up 0.9 percent, including groceries, which rose a full percentage point.

Of particular note, dairy prices increased for the 17th consecutive month, up 2.5 percent from March, the largest increase for the dairy index since July 2007. Over the past year as a whole, grocery prices have increased 10.8 percent, the largest year-over-year increase since 1980.

In Georgia, area prices are up 10.8 percent over the past 12 months.

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From February to April, Georgia residents paid about 4.9 percent more for meat, poultry and eggs; 2 percent more for fruits and vegetables; and 5.5 percent more for non-alcoholic beverages.

Grabbing a bite to eat from a local restaurant or fast-food chain is also more expensive in Georgia. The cost of food away from home rose 1.1 percent over the bi-monthly period, according to the BLS statistics. Alcohol is also pricier, rising 0.2 percent in cost.

Housing costs in Georgia are up 1.6 percent. Transportation costs are also up 4.9 percent.

Meanwhile, prices for dairy and related products managed to decrease by 3.5 percent from February to April. The same goes for the cost of apparel, which decreased by 1.2 percent.

Gas prices, though still averaging a record $4.40 a gallon nationally and $3.93 in Georgia, fell 6.1 percent from March to April, offsetting increases in the indexes for natural gas and electricity, according to the report.

Overall, gas prices have increased 44 percent from a year ago, and data from AAA shows prices have steadily increased so far in May.

In March, Gov. Brian Kemp announced plans to work with the Georgia General Assembly to temporarily suspend the state's excise tax on motor fuel sales through May 31, 2022.

"With this latest measure, we are making it even more clear that in Georgia we are going to empower families to keep their money in their own pockets," Kemp said at the time.

One month of data isn't enough to show if inflation is headed downward, economists, note. And there are signs in the report that inflation is becoming embedded in the U.S. economy, The Associated Press reported.

When the volatile food and energy prices — driven higher by persistent COVID-19 pandemic supply chain issues and, more recently, Russia's war in Ukraine — are taken out of the mix, the so-called core inflation on goods and services increased 0.6 percent from March to April, twice the 0.3 percent rise from February to March.

Core inflation rises more slowly, the AP explained, but can take longer to decline. For example, rent is rising at a historically fast pace, up 0.6 percent from March to April. Hotel costs are up, too, 1.7 percent from March to April, following a 3.3 percent increase from February to March.

Persistent inflation is a political problem for President Joe Biden, and a financial problem for many Americans, especially those on fixed incomes who are making tough choices at the grocery store and gas pump.

Patty Blackmon, who lives in Las Vegas, told the AP that $5.89-a-gallon gas prompted her to reduce the number of trips she makes to the grocery store and her grandchildren's sporting events. She hasn't decided if she'll make a road trip to see relatives in Arkansas this summer, hasn't visited her hair stylist in 18 months, and is buying more canned soup and salad ingredients at the grocery store.

"A steak is almost out of the question," she told The AP.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Know a Theatre: Theatrical Outfit of Atlanta, Ga.

ATLANTA: Local audiences craving concerts and dance performances might find their way to Georgia State University’s Rialto Center for the Arts in Downtown Atlanta, near the Peachtree Center MARTA stop. But if they walk due east from that former movie palace, they’ll be at the Balzer Theater at Herren’s, a 200-seat venue in a building that once housed a historic Atlanta restaurant and is now the home of Theatrical Outfit. This 45...

ATLANTA: Local audiences craving concerts and dance performances might find their way to Georgia State University’s Rialto Center for the Arts in Downtown Atlanta, near the Peachtree Center MARTA stop. But if they walk due east from that former movie palace, they’ll be at the Balzer Theater at Herren’s, a 200-seat venue in a building that once housed a historic Atlanta restaurant and is now the home of Theatrical Outfit. This 45-year-old company, the second oldest nonprofit professional theatre in Atlanta, started out as an ensemble and has since grown into a multifaceted institution, though its core is still developing and producing new work with a local focus. We recently caught up with its newish leader about the theatre and its programming.

AMERICAN THEATRE: Who founded Theatrical Outfit, when, and why?

MATT TORNEY: Theatrical Outfit was founded by an ensemble of young artists and friends in 1977 in a converted laundromat. They wanted to bring contemporary, cutting-edge theatre to Atlanta and create opportunities for the exciting community of artists living in the city at the time.

Tell us about yourself and your connection to the company.

I am the artistic director of Theatrical Outfit. I started near the beginning of the pandemic, in July 2020, so it has been an incredibly challenging yet incredibly rewarding couple of years so far. I am originally from Belfast in Northern Ireland and have been working in the U.S. since 2009. This is my first time living in the American South, and I am amazed at both how complex and misunderstood the region is. It’s an exciting place to make theatre.

What sets your theatre apart from others in your region?

Our mission is to produce theatre “that starts conversations that matter,” and our programming reflects just that. We look for plays that tap into crucial conversations for audiences and artists in Atlanta, and we define that differently based on what is going on in our world. Another aspect of our work is our deep commitment to Atlanta-based artists, which has remained unchanged since the theatre’s inception. One of our most exciting programs recently is the launch of the “Made in Atlanta” new-play development program, which includes readings, workshops, productions, commissions, and residencies. We are offering Theatrical Outfit as a home for artists right in the heart of our city.

Tell us about your favorite theatre institution other than your own, and why you admire it.

That would have to be Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. The depth of their connection to the Chicago community and the way in which they empower artists to play such a vital role in their programming and creative work is a model for us at Theatrical Outfit.

How do you pick the plays you put on your stage?

Our wonderful associate artistic director, Addae Moon, and I are always looking for exciting new plays. We cast a wide net, starting with “Made in Atlanta,” and then look at what’s happening in other cities and countries. We work with the rest of the TO staff to identify what the “conversations that matter” are for Atlanta, then Addae and I develop a long list of plays that resonate with those ideas.

What’s your annual budget, and how many artists do you employ each season?

Our annual budget is $1.5 million, and we employ on average 150 artists a year.

How did your theatre adapt to the past 2 years of COVID-19, and what does the prognosis look like?

My first task when I took over as artistic director was to cancel all in-person programming for the rest of the year. Like every performing arts organization in the country, we were immediately launched into “adapt and survive” mode. We developed the Downtown Dialogues digital reading series, in which we paired plays that spoke urgently to the moment with panel discussions that connected artists and experts to dig into the meat of the plays from multiple angles. We moved our new-play festival online, and programmed three digital productions, including an amazing live stream of Fires in the Mirror: Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and Other Identities by Anna Deavere Smith that will now have a live showing at Theatre J in DC in June.

We took every opportunity we had to pay artists and kept looking for innovative new ways to serve our mission—including the launch of a new program called “The Welcome Table” aimed at raising money for organizations that serve folks experiencing homelessness in Downtown Atlanta.

How has your theatre responded to calls for racial justice and more equitable working conditions put forward in documents like We See You, White American Theater, among others?

As a theatre situated in the heart of Downtown Atlanta, the calls for racial equity are especially urgent for us. One of the first things I experienced as a new artistic director was a listening session with BIPOC artists in Atlanta, who courageously shared their experiences in Atlanta theatre—stories of ways in which they had been othered and harmed, and ways in which the systems here has failed them. It struck me deeply and gave great urgency to our internal work at Theatrical Outfit.

Our new governing principle is that the work on our stages must look and feel like the city in which we live, and that having good language is not enough—success will be measured by the experiences of artists working in our building, all of whom need to feel seen, heard, and valued. This begins with programming and hiring, but also required us to begin the process of shifting how we think about our work, our culture, and how we support artists while they are working here. Our first concrete action was to join the call for the five-day work week and eliminate 10 out of 12s.

We also made a number of organizational commitments with the full support of the board, including quarterly training (including some amazing sessions with the Center for Civil and Human Rights, which I highly recommend), changes to our hiring practices, board development goals, and internal assessments. We are at the beginning of a long and humbling journey, but we have started, and it has had a powerful impact on our theatre and our audience already.

What show are you working on now? Anything else in your season that you’re especially looking forward to?

We are just about to go into tech for our final show of the 21-22 season, a revival of our hit production of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill with Broadway and Atlanta star Terry Burrell’s inspired vision of Billie Holiday. There is something about Billie’s music, and the way that she weaves her pain and struggle into melancholy beauty, that just resonates so powerfully with what we have lived through. From there we launch into the 22-23 season, which will include four mainstage shows, expanded new work and community outreach, and a full lobby renovation to better engage our community.

Strangest or funniest thing you’ve ever seen (or put) on your stage?

Our marketing director, Ryan Oliveti, told me after our production of An Iliad had closed that he had hid his Elsa figurine (from Frozen) on the set. Apparentl she has visited other sets as well, so keep your eyes peeled if you see a show at TO!

What are you doing when you’re not doing theatre?

Looking after my one-month-old son (welcome to the world, Fionn Benjamin Torney!) and three-year-old daughter Isla Torney.

What does theatre—not just your theatre, but the American or world theatre—look like in, say, 20 years?

To me, the most powerful element of theatre is the raw creativity of artists and the catalytic magic that happens during a live performance. I think that we are in for a period of very necessary change in how we make theatre, how institutions operate, and how we articulate our values. But the core vitality of our artform will continue to evolve to reflect the changing times—whatever they look like. When I look at the ways different theatres have responded to both COVID-19 and calls for racial equity, I am struck by the number of innovators that are breaking things open, letting things go, and creating new opportunities for people that have been excluded. This energy is catalytic and transformative, and, if we trust in artists, they will show us the way.

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A Courageous Brand Refresh At Valor Coffee In Atlanta, GA

Coffee Design is proudly sponsored by Savor Brands, your boost in coffeedence through maximizing designs in packaging, sustainability and tech.The Coffee Design series on Sprudge searches near and far for the coolest nodes of coffee packaging art. This week we shine a spotlight on the brand...

Coffee Design is proudly sponsored by Savor Brands, your boost in coffeedence through maximizing designs in packaging, sustainability and tech.

The Coffee Design series on Sprudge searches near and far for the coolest nodes of coffee packaging art. This week we shine a spotlight on the branding refresh of North Atlanta coffee shop and roaster Valor Coffee, where the focus is on coffee quality, charitable giving, and engaging aesthetics courtesy of in-house design.

As told to Sprudge by Riley Westbook.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed.

Tell us about Valor Coffee.

Valor ultimately exists to match the top 1% of coffee quality with the top 1% of service and guest experience. We’ve seen so many times throughout our careers that some of the places offering the best coffee ultimately put guest experience on the back-burner. We’re an organization founded on the goal of giving guests, partners, and employees an uplifting experience through care and intentionality.

Valor was started by Ethan Rivers, Ross Walters and myself in 2016. We were young (19-year-old) college *quitters* (i.e. dropouts) who had zero cash and zero know-how to build out a cafe, so we ran a Kickstarter for $10,000, put another $10,000 on a credit card, and built out a mobile cart that we used to cater weddings, film sets, and office parties. We did this for a couple years until January 2018 when we landed a permanent-ish pop-up spot in a co-working space in Alpharetta. We subsequently started roasting in July of the same year, renting another roaster’s facility twice a week. We began to really feel connected to the city of Alpharetta and decided to open a permanent location after building some capital through our now-every-day operation. Our doors opened in Downtown Alpharetta in August 2019. Since, we’ve opened a roasting headquarters in the neighboring city of Roswell where we roast our coffees on a Loring S15 Falcon, fulfill all orders, and host our offices. Last month, we signed a lease on our second cafe in Dunwoody (about 11 miles from our first spot), with hopes to be open late 2022.

When did the design refresh debut?

March 21st was the official Day One of the refreshed line. One of the main focuses of this brand refresh was to make our brand elements and collateral more consistent. Lots of our previous design and branding work had really run together, looking clustered and without continuity, so we didn’t want that to happen with the new collateral. The “launch date” moved dozens of times due to production delays because we knew we wanted to release all new merch, packaging, and design elements on the same day while simultaneously removing all old brand elements.

How long did the process take—from vision to final product?

Honestly, it felt like it took an eternity. We are fortunate to have a staff designer (Arielle Zottneck) along with two other excellent designers in our circle (barista Elijah Knapp and my wife, Mikayla Westbrook). Working with an internal team really helped us all feel comfortable to present, critique, and rework tons of ideas. We would take a concept really far, scratch it, then completely start over. Our first brainstorm meeting was at the beginning of February 2021. We landed on our design elements and branding guidelines in September and spent the rest of the time from then to March 21st ironing out the kinks and producing collateral. We ran into several production delays, especially in the process of producing our boxes, that really stretched out our timeline. Luckily we had somewhat accounted for potential delays and knew we could likely afford up to 14 months with our previous packaging inventory, so we made it out just in time.

Tell us about the new design elements!

We moved away from a Logo mark that was sharp and somewhat “cold” to a mark that flows well with soft edges—something more kind, elegant, and refined. We think this is a great testament to the sort of company we want to be. Our icon, the staircase you can find debossed on the side of the box, signifies our desire to give our guests an elevated, uplifting experience. I’ll attach individual files of each below in case you want to throw them in separately.

For the boxes specifically, we wanted to keep things simple and elegant, finding inspiration from many candle and fragrance companies. The label that wraps around the front corner allows us to communicate the most pertinent information on the front (name of coffee and tasting notes) and the extra details on the side (coffee’s story, region/origin, altitude, varieties, processing). We used blank debossing where we could to give subtle touches, such as “coffee” on the front and the Staircase icon on the side next to the label.

Possibly our favorite thing about this new packaging is that we were able to use nine different box colors at a time to signify the menu slot that each coffee fills. We have an additional four colors that will rotate seasonally in place of our seasonal blend—currently Swoon. So 13 colors in total.

What coffees are you all excited about currently?

We always love our staple blend, Freethrow (blue box). It’s chocolatey with subtle fruit, perfect for those who don’t know a lot about specialty OR those who are looking for nuance and interesting notes, and it’s great no matter how you brew it. It’s always on espresso at our cafe.

Our spring seasonal blend, Swoon (lavender box), is an incredible take on a bright blend. It’s composed of a pink bourbon Colombia and a D.R. Congo, and it really brings nice citrus matched with some fun florals. One dollar from every box sold of our seasonal blends is donated to a charitable organization, this season being the Ukrainian Red Cross.

As for single origins, you really can’t go wrong with our black box coffees–these are always premium and higher price point because of their high scores. Currently we are featuring a honey processed gesha from Finca Nueva Granada in Guatemala. It’s truly mind blowing, holding a sparkling body with blue raspberry hard candy notes–it’s around for a very limited time, but sure to be followed by an equally interesting high-end offering.

Ethiopia Worka Sakaro Anaerobic Natural (red box) is a fan favorite right now, featuring clean natural processing with some nice Amaro liqueur-like notes.

Where is your coffee available?

We have quite a few wholesale partners throughout the states, especially in the Southeast. You can also find our coffee online or at any Whole Foods location in the state of Georgia.

What’s next for Valor?

Our next big project is certainly opening our second cafe in the city of Dunwoody. Lots of folks thought we were a little crazy for trailblazing a third-wave shop in the ‘burbs. But after cafe #1 was received so well, it just solidified, in our eyes, that smaller suburban cities need amazing coffee with friendly service as well. Otherwise, we are excited to continue expanding our wholesale partnerships and work with other shops and restaurants.

Thank you.

Visit Valor Coffee’s official website for more details and follow them on Instagram.

Explore more Coffee Design in our archives.

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