By Brian Benefield
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Walking into Good Kitchen feels like visiting a clean, feng shui designed space with warm wood furniture, soft earth-tone cushions that adorn the three main dining areas, and succulent plants that add to the zen-like atmosphere. The vibrant, flavorful food they serve also provides a significant part of their color palette. The restaurant is a 1900s cottage house with a vast, recently expanded deck out front that feels like sitting in your neighbor’s backyard, complete with a huge tree that is a friend in the summer by offering much-needed shade.
Veronica Tompkins, the owner, is a cancer survivor and a firm believer in the healing power of Good food, and her health journey can attest to that. She grew up adjacent to the St. Lawrence river in upstate New York, downstream from an aluminum processing plant for the first eighteen years of her life. Veronica would find out later that the aluminum in the river that contaminated the water, air, and soil was the cause of her cancer and had been misdiagnosed many times. She would undergo numerous treatments and had several major organs removed. She told me, “after the doctors exhausted all medical options, I focused on rebuilding my immune system by eating better and eliminating toxins to lessen my body’s burden.”
And now Veronica is elated to say that she is considered NED (no evidence of disease).
Peter, her husband, has worked in the restaurant industry for over forty years, starting as a busser and ending as Senior Vice President of a well-known local chain with over forty stores. Veronica is the artist, being the creative personality, and Peter is the scientist running the operations aspect of their latest venture Good Kitchen+Market that opened on April 1st, 2019. When they should have been celebrating their first anniversary in 2020, the world changed because of the pandemic, and they changed with it. They got a call from their Yelp representative stating that they “seemed very busy recently,” but Veronica was puzzled by this because there’s no way he could’ve known their recent increase in sales. The Yelp employee told her he knew this by the number and type of inquires they had at the inception of the pandemic. Customers were searching for healthy food, cleanliness, and outdoor seating…Good Kitchen has all of that. The eatery won an aptly named Pivoting the Pandemic Yelp award in September 2020 because of its innovative ideas and ability to adapt to the ever-changing situation. They emerged triumphant on the other side, so much so that they plan to franchise and open two new spots very soon.
Veronica exclaimed, “I’ve always loved food and attempt to recreate dishes at home that I order in restaurants.” The artist side of her helped devise the menu, and some of their best-selling items came from her ingenuity. Avocado Nachos were born when she came home with a large bag of savory fruit and had to figure out a way to use them all before they got too ripe. This trendy and delicious appetizer is avocado wedges topped with chili campana, double dressed with avocado crema, balsamic glaze, and topped with microgreens. They are vigilant about sourcing all proteins and veggies from local, responsible farms and use the James Beard Foundation blended burger initiative by incorporating vegetables with ground beef to create a healthier, more flavorful burger. I am a breakfast fiend and devour the avocado bacon bowl with two scrambled eggs, gruyere cheese, and served over crispy hash browns. Trust me on this one!
The entree bowls they offer are very inventive and will fill up your belly and soul. Try the Egg Roll in a Bowl that has grass-fed beef and stir-fry veggies over a base of cabbage and cauliflower rice with a sesame ginger sauce that is very addictive. The Piccata Plate is another crowd favorite, served with either salmon or chicken topped with a savory piccata sauce, parmesan mashed cauliflower, and seasonal vegetables. Good offers a thoughtfully curated wine selection and quite a few local craft beers to accompany your meal.
To say the restaurant takes cleanliness seriously would be an understatement. Veronica and her team of friendly servers utilize a water carrier to serve H2O instead of handling the glasses that guests drink from as part of their unique, three-point cleaning system. Parts two and three ensure tables are sanitized properly by using a cleaning caddy that holds sanitizing spray and a dry towel and only using a tray to clear plates from a table once guests depart the restaurant.
Stop in, and I think you’ll be impressed with the high-quality, nutritious fare and welcoming service. My wife and I love this little gem of a place and believe in their philosophy that when you eat good, you feel good.
Good Kitchen and Market is located at 116 Margaret Ave NE, Marietta, GA 30060.