Gaddy opened grab-and-go Atlyss Food Collective on Spring Street in June
Founder Jenny Gaddy (far right) and her Atlyss Food Co. team in front on their grab-and-go café on Meeting Street, where customers can pick up salads and entrées from the refrigerator or order a freshly made smoothie or sandwich from the counter.
Working as a chef in some of the city’s top kitchens, Jenny Gaddy got a closeup view of inadvertent food waste, excess packaging, and how difficult it can be to adhere to best intentions.She decided to meet those challenges and, in 2019, launched Atlyss Food Co., a meal delivery service targeted to busy professionals, families, and fitness enthusiasts within 20 miles of Charleston. Although that market can be crowded, Gaddy is betting that people feel better when they know where their food comes from—and how waste is being managed.
Atlyss sources as many ingredients as possible from local farmers and purveyors, including Ambrose Family Farm, Vertical Roots, and Wishbone Heritage Farms, to provide meals that can be prepared quickly. “In Charleston, we have one of the longest and most fertile growing seasons in the country. We have access to vegetables year-round and a growing progressive community,” says Gaddy. “I decided I was going to create the thing I wanted to see.”
Gaddy developed an appreciation for locally sourced food growing up in Spokane, Washington, where her mother took her to farmers markets, and often canned jams and sauces to last through the long winters. She gained her cooking experience as a bread maker and pastry chef at Lea in Brooklyn, and later, as a freelance chef aboard private yachts. “I would try to find markets and source local ingredients. I did that for two years and loved it, but eventually, I wanted to be on land again and get my footing,” Gaddy says. “I came to Charleston, known for its cooking. I had no formal experience, but I had been cooking for people who had eaten in the best restaurants all over the world.”
She was impressed by the molecular gastronomy chef Vinson Petrillo was creating at Zero George and was thrilled when he offered her a job. After a year and a half, she moved to Maison, where she honed her techniques.
Just before the pandemic, while at Maison, Gaddy launched Atlyss Food Co. in an effort to address the amount of waste, including byproducts from meals and extra food, she had seen in kitchens. “On top of that, if you’re not sourcing locally, and sometimes even if you do, the packaging creates more and more waste,” Gaddy says. “It disturbed me, and I felt like if I was going to continue in the food industry, I had to do something that didn’t go against my belief system,” she said.
Atlyss offers overnight oats for breakfast, salads for lunch, and entrées including Buddha bowls, Korean braised beef tacos, and Greek chicken with squash and crispy potatoes. Several gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options are always available. A new menu is released weekly, and meals are delivered to doorsteps on Sunday afternoons. Atlyss’s packaging is compostable, and Gaddy partners with CompostNow to provide a discount for customers.
The business grew during the pandemic as restaurants shuttered, and would-be diners realized they didn’t want to cook yet craved satisfying meals. And in June, Gaddy opened Atlyss Food Collective, a grab-and-go café in a space behind the F45 workout studio on Meeting Street, where she serves smoothies and sandwiches and offers the same prepackaged breakfasts, salads, and entrées as the website, as well as locally sourced staples such as bread, eggs, and meats. “The most important thing is where it’s all being sourced,” Gaddy says. “We’re getting the highest quality and most nutrient-dense food we can, and it’s coming from the Lowcountry.”
BY THE NUMBERS
■ 900: Meals delivered per week
■ Half a ton: Estimated amount of food waste diverted from landfills per month
■ 500: Pounds of produce used each week
■ 6: Number of full-time employees