When some people think of retirement, they picture buying a beach house and whiling away the days, relaxing to the sounds of waves lapping against the beach. This thought crossed the minds of Peter and Veronica Thompkins, too, but it didn’t take long for a new idea to take the beach house out of the picture. In April of this year, the Thompkinses opened a restaurant, GOOD Kitchen + Market, to share with others their recipes of healthy food that tastes delicious. Peter explained, “We felt like we had one last mission to do and that’s to share what we know about nutrition to the public.”
Both Peter and Veronica are cancer survivors and, under doctor’s supervision, were healed largely through the food they ate. After each cancer treatment, they would build up their immune systems with nutrient-dense foods, including more vegetables and little-to-no sugar. “We both are success stories and a lot of that had to do with nutrition,” Peter said. “So that’s really a big part of our why. It’s more of a mission than a business. We always fed our kids like this at home. A lot of what we do, we’ve been doing at home for years; feeding neighbors and church groups.”
As friends began to hear of Peter and Veronica’s success with nutrition, they started sending people their way to counsel. Veronica explained that they’ve helped other people battling cancer, counseling nearly 200 patients throughout the years.
Now, through the restaurant, they’ve created a way to educate even more people, but in a subtle way. “We do it in a way that’s not a snobby, organic restaurant way. Just come on in, eat our food and be yourself,” Peter said.
With the development of each of the menu items, health and nutrition are the first thought. “Our base menu is very nutrient-dense. We’ve thought every single thing through,” Veronica explained.
To help develop the recipes, Peter and Veronica enlisted the help of Paul Bringuez, their culinary director, whom they first met through classes at Stonebridge Church. “We’ve all been connected for a long time on the health journey. Paul helped coach Veronica and me,” Peter praised. “We all had a shared interest in healthy eating, healthy living and how to combat disease the right way, naturally. Paul helped create a lot of the recipes with us. He’s done a great job of executing the menu.”
Following the nutrient-dense theme, the team created dishes in three different flavor profiles: Thai, Italian and Spanish. On the menu are appetizers and main dishes for each of these flavor types, plus a few seasonal dishes and specials for variety. Customers can order hot bowls and broth bowls in each of the flavors, but with a nutritious twist on the traditional. In the Spanish rice bowl, chicken or grass-fed steak top Spanish caulirice (rice made out of cauliflower), and the Thai broth bowl is served over Zoodles (zucchini cut into the shape of noodles).
Peter and Veronica took an extra step to develop the meatball recipes. They reached out to renowned chef Pat Pascarella of The White Bull to create the concepts for each of the meatballs. With a few parameters—they were to be gluten-free, with added vegetables, in each of the three flavor profiles— Pascarella went to work to create three delicious meatballs and the accompanying sauces. The three meetball flavors are a Spanish Albondigas topped with sofrito sauce and manchego, a Traditional Italian topped with Pomodoro sauce and mozzarella, and a Sesame Ginger Thai topped with Asian slaw and sesame ginger sauce.
If customers are unsure of which flavor they would prefer, Peter recommends the Flight of Meatballs, which has one of each of the three flavors.
At GOOD Kitchen + Market, there is something for everyone and for every diet. “We are a place you can go out to eat and you don’t have to cheat,” Veronica said. “If you eat paleo, if you eat keto, if you eat bread, if you’re a carnivore, you can eat here. It’s about the ingredients. If you eat bread, we believe in eating the freshest, most-local source of bread you can get. Our bakery is Sessions Stand, half a mile down the road.”
The staff takes allergies and food preferences seriously and adapt the menu whenever possible. They also have a GOOD plants menu for vegans and vegetarians. “Our idea is we want to accommodate anyone who likes good food,” Veronica said.
The chefs don’t forget desserts, although there is no sugar in the recipes. In fact, there’s no sugar on the premises. Desserts are made with monk fruit, a natural, plant-based sweetener that has no calories, no carbohydrates and does not raise blood glucose levels. “Our desserts are very light. Strawberry mousse, chocolate mousse, fresh berries. You’re leaving and you’re feeling refreshed and hopefully nourished,” Peter said.
Children are treated royally at GOOD Kitchen + Market. An activity station is full of books, puzzles and games to keep little ones entertained. The front yard is a great spot for kids to run around and blow bubbles, while parents enjoy time on the deck. Kids have plentiful options for food, ignoring the traditional mac and cheese and chicken nuggets. The meal arrives on a metal tray with separate compartments for healthy proteins, raw vegetables, cooked vegetables, fruit and a healthy treat.
The restaurant gives extra-special treatment to kids going through cancer treatments with the Courageous Kid Program. Any child who is currently undergoing treatment for cancer or who has recently finished cancer treatment eats for free. The program was inspired by their nephew, Ryan, who went through five years of cancer treatments. They want their restaurant to be a place where a Courageous Kid can eat nutrient-dense food, but also be a fun place where both the kid and the caregiver can have a break from fighting cancer on a daily basis. “It’s our passion and our heart,” Veronica expressed.
The restaurant is already a popular spot with locals. Located just off the Marietta Square and near WellStar Kennestone Hospital, it is a comfortable place to relax, eat good food and enjoy time with family and neighbors. As one customer related, while sitting on the restaurant’s front deck: “I feel like I’m on my friend’s deck.”
“We have met so many neighbors.” Veronica noted. “We’ve heard so many stories. One of the things I love, I’ve introduced neighbors to each other.”
The restaurant is in a 1930s bungalow, with parking behind and a deck on the front, and sits on a hill on Margaret Avenue between Church Street and Cherokee Street.
“People can walk here,” Peter noted. “There are so many houses within three quarters of a mile, so they usually walk.” Customers walk with strollers or with their dogs, or some even come on bikes.
“It’s amazing the people who walk and bring their dogs. Our porch is pup-friendly,” Veronica said.
“We purposely priced it so that people could come a couple of times a week,” Peter added. “We would rather have someone come twice a week rather than once a month. We want to be a place where you can come if you’re eating healthy and get great food at a great price.”