GoFundMe Fundraiser Created To Help Atlanta’s Colonnade Restaurant Survive
Updated Friday at 8:57 a.m.
The Colonnade is a longstanding place for comfort food and community. Like many other restaurants, the coronavirus pandemic has put a strain on its business.
As a lifelong patron, Suzi Sheffield took it upon herself to create a GoFundMe fundraising site for the 93-year-old Atlanta restaurant Wednesday. By Friday, it had raised more than $50,000. The end goal is $100,000.
“Hopefully, we can get these guys some funding to carry them through the winter and the other side of the vaccine, and things can start getting a little bit back to normal if we can carry them there,” Sheffield said.
She said The Colonnade is a lively place full of “organized chaos” where strangers regularly interact with each other. Though the restaurant is still open, the environment isn’t the same due to the pandemic.
“A core group of who is here every night are those that are a little more vulnerable to the pandemic, and although we’ve been here to eat a couple of weeks ago, it felt so safe,” she said.
Michelle Alterman, a customer of The Colonnade for about 50 years, describes the restaurant as “home.”
“When you feel like you want to be together and see people and just feel like you’re at home at your kitchen table, that’s The Colonnade.” Alterman said.
The restaurant was established in 1927. Movies have been filmed there, such as “Into the Woods” and “Identity Theft.” It has even survived a fire and was rebuilt to what it is today.
Jodi Stallings owns the restaurant with her husband David. The Colonnade has been a part of her life since she was a child in the 1970s, as have many of the employees, she said.
“Well, we’ve been around for so long, and I think that people appreciate that,” Stallings said. “And you’re not in the restaurant business for this long if you’re not serving good food.”
She said her customers are like her family and that the restaurant acts as an anchor in Atlanta.
“I feel so supported, and so much love,” she said. “It’s just excellent that people wanna make sure we stay in business because we have such a good following.”
It wasn’t her idea to make the GoFundMe site, but she said the outpouring of support has left her speechless.
“Suzi, I really appreciate her doing that,” Stallings said. “It warms my heart to see the support that we’re getting.”