I have always loved people with an altruistic leaning and my hope for the world today is that we will meander out of the long tunnel of greed that we have been lost in for so long and come back to the light. As we do, perhaps we will begin to see the importance of more environmentally aware and unselfish businesses like the Little Grill Collective in Harrisonburg. If my utopia dream is correct, I hope that folks like us will feel the need and desire to patronize these establishments.
Little Grill Collective is a small employee owned restaurant on Route 11 just on the outskirts of downtown Harrisonburg. It has a long and reflective history with a building that echoes the society of an area and the ebbs and flows of such a community. The Little Grill has been a restaurant since the 1940’s and like all edifices that carry a weighty history, still bears some of the marks of both sorrow and joy that any entity would carry after seventy years of life.
On the day I visited The Little Grill Collective I met with Colleen Gorman, her husband Tim and their two beautiful children. Colleen shared a bit of the history of The Little Grill. She explained that it had gone through a number of incarnations since 1940 and finally landed into the hands of Ron Copeland in 1992. Copeland’s contributions to the Grill include the idea of healthy-minded eating and that of ridding the restaurant of products from multi-national corporations such as Coco-Cola, Anhauser-Busch, Miller, Coors, and Folgers.
In time Copeland became interested in entering the ministry and following Jesus’s example of feeding the hungry. In time he was able, with his employees, to enter into a worker-owned collective. According to Copeland since 2003 when the collective was formed, the business has continued to work in the direction of localizing the restaurant’s food source, cooking food with a conscience, and creating a healthy work environment for the workers.
The food is reasonably priced, nourishing, and the atmosphere is friendly. In addition if you friend them on face book they send you great messages like the following from Mariana Bowling: “Come warm up tonight with all you can eat soup, salad, and bread! Featuring vegetarian groundnut stew, carrot apple ginger salad, and fresh home-made multi-grain bread.”
Now who wouldn’t love that!
The Little Grill Collective
621 North Main Street
Harrisonburg, VA 22802