The 2020 presidential election sees Georgia considered a battleground state for the first time in decades. For the better part of the last 50 years, Georgia has been reliably red and Republican. In fact, the last time Georgia went for a Democratic president was in 1992, when then Arkansas governor Bill Clinton won the state. Before that, it was Jimmy Carter in 1976, and again in 1980. This year, 16 electoral votes are up for grabs, and recent polls indicate President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden are neck-and-neck in Georgia. Nearly four million people have already cast their votes in person during Georgia’s early voting period or by absentee ballot ahead of Election Day on Tuesday, November 3.
As the country experiences monumental social and economic shifts in ethos, the nation’s restaurant industry has turned its attention to the November election and the impact its 15 million workers could have on the outcome. A growing number of Atlanta restaurants and food businesses are committing to providing employees paid time off this year to vote, work the polls, or closing for business on Election Day to give staff ample time to vote or to volunteer. Some restaurants, coffee shops, and bars are even stepping up to serve as pick-up locations for rides to polls or delivering coffee, pizza, doughnuts, and other snacks to people waiting in line to vote or working the polls on Election Day.
Eater plans to track these Election Day closures and food initiatives around Atlanta through November 3.
Grassroots Initiatives and Restaurants Providing Food at the Polls
The Georgia 55 Project started out as #ProtestPizzaATL during the 2018 midterm elections. Now it’s a full-blown grassroots coalition with hundreds of volunteers providing snacks, water, and other food stuffs to people at the polls throughout metro Atlanta. Georgia 55 Project owes its name to the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the 55,000-vote difference between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial race. The initiative is partnering with several Atlanta-area restaurants for this year’s election efforts. People can still donate funds and snacks. After November 3, leftover food and supplies will be donated to Atlanta community fridge project Free99Fridge, Covenant House youth shelter, Nicolas House (unhoused support,) and local schools for children in need of free lunch. Click here for the full list of participating restaurants.
Atlanta-based writer, podcaster, and documentary filmmaker King Williams is leading a pizza to the polls and snack initiative in portions of DeKalb and Clayton counties on Election Day. He also hopes to distribute masks. Those wishing to donate can send funds to $IAmKingWilliams via CashApp or IAmKingWilliams via Venmo. Any funding and supplies left over after November 3 will be donated to Hosea Feed the Hungry program, part of Hosea Helps.
Chef Hugh Acheson (Empire State South, By George, Five & Ten), along with chefs Andy Gonzales of Steinbeck’s Ale House and the Companion, Chris Wilkins of Root Baking Co., and Rob Birdsong of Glide Pizza, plan to provide 2,000 meals to eight polling locations throughout Georgia on November 3. A GoFundMe campaign is currently underway to help support the Election Day meals initiative. Click here to donate.
Georgia’s Own Credit Union partnered with Insomnia Cookies to deliver 2,020 free cookies to the polls on Election Day. The giveaway begins at 10:30 a.m. at the Central Park Recreation Center polling precinct in Old Fourth Ward. The volunteer initiative will then monitor local news and social media coverage for polling locations experiencing long lines to deliver cookies. People waiting in lines at the polls can also tag #GeorgiasOwnVote on Twitter and Instagram.
Junior’s Pizza partnering with Georgia 55 Project to provide pizza, snacks, music, chairs, water, and ponchos at the polls throughout Atlanta.
Glide Pizza partnering with Georgia 55 Project to provide pizza to the polls. People can donate pizzas from Glide by sending funds via Venmo to @glidepizza.
JenChan’s Supper Club partnering with Georgia 55 Project to serve 300 sliders and other food to the restaurant’s local precincts at Dad’s Garage and Lang Carson Community Center on Election Day.
Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours partnering with Georgia 55 Project to provide 750 sandwiches, chips, and water for poll locations around Atlanta.
The Window in West End plans to offer 650 pupusa meals on Election Day in partnership with Georgia 55 Project.
Moonbird Coffee plans to distribute coffee and snacks at the polls on Election Day. Those wishing to donate snacks can drop them off at the Chamblee-based coffee shop before November 3.
Victory Brand restaurants is delivering 1,000 sandwiches to poll locations throughout Atlanta on Election Day.
Restaurants, Bars, Coffee Shops Offering Election Day Deals
It should be noted offering discounts and food giveaways specifically to voters is illegal when federal candidates are on the ballot. However, most restaurants and food businesses tend to advertise these food freebies and deals as being for everyone on Election Day and not just for those people casting their ballots.
Salaryman in East Lake is offering an Election Night survival kit with a bottle of champagne and a choice of two whiskey cocktails.
East Pole Coffee is offering free oak milk drinks throughout Election Day until 5 p.m.
King of Pops will offer 20 percent off all online orders using the promo code IVOTED on Election Day. Present an “I Voted” sticker at the Harvest Bar at Ponce City Market for 20 percent off orders.
Xander Coffee in Buckhead is offer 50 percent off handcrafted coffee and tea drinks or a free drip coffee when a voter sticker is presented through Election Day.
Little Spirit in Inman Park will offer a free snaquiri (bite sized daiquiri) on Election Day evening for those who present an “I Voted” sticker.
Election Day Closures
Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q
Spiller Park Coffee in Toco Hills and at Ponce City Market
Ben & Jerry’s in Inman Park
Empire State South
Victory Sandwich Shop in Inman Park and Decatur
Victory Coffee and Calamity
Socks Love Barbecue
Kimball House (open Monday, November 2)
Hodgepodge Coffee House
Cooks & Soldiers
The Iberian Pig in Decatur and Buckhead
*this list will continue to be updated
If your restaurant, bar, bakery, or food business plans to close on Election Day, act as a pick-up location for rides to the polls, or provide meals or other supplies to the polls during the November election cycle, email Eater Atlanta with the details.
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