Atlanta Orders In: Emphasis on safety brings customers back to Bread & Butterfly

Tuna niçoise salad, with tomatoes, beans and zucchini, is among the takeout offerings at Bread & Butterfly. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Bob Townsend

Credit: Bob Townsend

At the time, the Allins, who have two children, said they needed to take a break for “some much needed time together as a family.”

Fans found consolation at Bread & Butterfly, the couple’s wine bar and cafe-bistro, which opened in Inman Park in 2015, along with nearby Proof Bakeshop.

Both places are still operating, albeit with more limited hours and offerings. By necessity, Billy Allin, who collected multiple James Beard nominations and “best of” awards at Cakes & Ale, is the chef.

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Bread & Butterfly offers daily specials, such as swordfish, tapenade and greens. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Bob Townsend

Credit: Bob Townsend

But, working 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays has been a blessing, Allin said recently.

“Don’t get me wrong, the pandemic sucks,” he said, "but to be able to spend some more time together as a regular family has been great. When we closed Cakes & Ale, my youngest son, Van, said something that broke my heart, but elated me at the same time. It was like, ‘Dad it’s been really great to get to know you better.’”

Currently, Bread & Butterfly seats customers either in the sunroom, with all the doors open, or on the patio. And, there are strict rules requiring social distancing and masks, to ensure the safety of both employees and guests.

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The Bread & Butterfly egg sandwich comes with crispy fries and aioli. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Bob Townsend

Credit: Bob Townsend

“We’ve been building every week, and the trend line is going up," Allin said. “I think that’s owing to the fact that we really are a lot stricter with safety measures and protocols than most restaurants. I think what’s happening is, people who do respect that, and want that piece of mind, are coming back. We’re seeing a lot of return guests, especially on weekdays.”

The smaller menu features some favorites from the past, and a few new things, Allin said.

In the morning, it’s breakfast and brunch items only. Later in the day, the full menu is available, with the acclaimed Burger Americain and plat du jour specials, including fish dishes.

“After 11:30, we’re kind of like a Waffle House,” Allin joked. “You can get whatever you want, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or brunch. I think it’s a really fairly priced menu. ... We try to have fun, and make it an experience that takes some of the weight of the world off your shoulders.”

Like Bread & Butterfly, Proof Bakeshop is open Wednesdays-Sundays, with strict safety protocols. Coffee, baked goods and grab-and-go sandwiches are takeout only. Proof also has a regular presence at local farmers markets, including Freedom Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.

Looking back over the past seven months, Allin said he’s been able to ponder the future, and his priorities.

“It’s allowed me to think about these businesses in a different way, and really take a step back and ask how do want to run them, and how do I want to run my life,” he said. “In that way, the pandemic has been really, really good for me. That’s the silver lining.”

BREAD & BUTTERFLY

Menu: French bistro-style breakfast, lunch and brunch

Alcohol: beer, wine and cocktails, including drinks to go, plus wine club selections

What I ordered: egg sandwich, with prosciutto cotto, mortadella and gruyere; crispy fried potatoes, with aioli; tuna niçoise salad; plat du jour special of swordfish, tapenade and greens; apple cake. Very good food, and very good value. Allin’s egg sandwich and crispy potatoes are much better than anything at Waffle House.

Service options: dine-in or takeout; order by phone

Outdoor dining: sunroom and patio seating

Mask policy: required for employees and guests, with social distancing rules strictly enforced

Address, phone: 290 Elizabeth St., Atlanta; 678-515-4536

Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays

Website: www.bread-and-butterfly.com

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