By: Kylie Cooper Photos: Arnold Garza
A few months back, Chase Sapphire and The Infatuation publication launched the Chase Sapphire Supports Restaurants Contest. This endeavor asked folks around the country to nominate their favorite local restaurants and share why they love the establishment so much. A key point in the contest was noting how these neighborhood restaurants were there for their community amidst the pandemic, as well as pivots made to continue operating during that time.
Only 20 of the nominated establishments would be awarded a $50,000 grant to further their missions and community involvement. One of those 20 just so happens to be located right here in the Coastal Bend: The Uncommon Market.
The Uncommon Market, located in Beeville, Texas, encompasses the Coffee Barrel, Uncommon Table, and Atomic Bakery. Owner and founder Dr. Dhaval Patel moved to the Coastal Bend just about nine years ago. In an effort to make an impact in the area by taking on food and beverage deserts in South Texas, the concept for The Uncommon Market was born and has only grown since.
By using their profits to create 12 different community programs, Dr. Patel and his team have curated projects and initiatives all with underlying values of growing and utilizing fresh and organic products and building community through education, economic livelihood, healthcare, and sustainability to create a thriving life for all.
Prior to the pandemic, The Uncommon Market was thriving on all fronts – scale-up plans and all. But in December of 2019, before any mandate was set into place, Dr. Patel closed the doors to protect his employees and customers. However, the work did not stop. Community projects, such as virtual cooking classes, did not let up. Curbside shopping increased and helped residents find grocery items experiencing shortages such as milk and eggs. These are just a couple of examples showcasing how Dr. Patel and his team pivoted during this time.
The awarded grant funds will greatly help The Uncommon Market in their continued pursuit of offering an exceptional and educational epicurean experience to the community – such as large-scale community gardens, sustainability programs for schools, cooking classes and competitions, and motivational talks and speaker series.
“This award is a testament that if we continue to work together as a community,” Dr. Patel shares, “we will uncommonly grow our impact. It shows that we can overcome any hardship collectively.”
The philosophy at the center of everything The Uncommon Market and Dr. Patel does is admirable – one where people matter a great deal more than profits. The business concept provides a space to the community where people of all ages and backgrounds can have a seat at the table. The Uncommon Market is changing the way the community looks at food and reminds us that ultimately, it unites us all.