Thursday, April 30, 2009

Brighter Day Restaurant & Natural Foods Market

BY Kelly Vormelker

Historic Marietta’s streets are lined with fast food pit stops. Fine dining eateries and pubs are peppered in between. One spot unique among its neighbors is Brighter Day Restaurant & Natural Foods Store. This, the region’s only natural foods market and restaurant brings granola munchers and meat lovers together in a new and unexpected way.

Located in a small brick building, a shared space with a tiny bowling alley, Brighter Day is modest from the exterior. Upon entering, the warm orange walls and dark wooden features envelope you. Aromas of herbs, sizzling meat and various spices intermingle in the air. You are quickly overwhelmed by the extensive menu featuring items like Portabello wraps, Marsala pasta, baby back ribs and hummus. “Dinner is very relaxed. We lower the lights and have white table cloths,” owner Don Murray says.

Because of the diverse menu, some patrons might be surprised to learn that the restaurant uses all natural ingredients. When available, Don uses organic ingredients too, and vegan items also grace the menu.

The first sign of Brighter Day’s bountiful portions is that after ordering a table receives a basket of warm, over-sized rolls.

To compliment your meal the drink menu boasts organic and imported beers, wines, and fresh made sidecars.

Boasting the region’s most extensive vegetarian menu, Brighter Day cooks with all natural ingredients and uses fresh herbs and spices. The kitchen even makes every meal from scratch. “We do a little bit of everything,” Don says. To find such a comparable healthy haven one would have to travel as far as Athens or Columbus.

Often, the words organic, vegetarian and vegan bring up images of tofu and bean sprouts, but Brighter Day will shatter these images. A billboard advertising the cozy restaurant displays a rack-of-ribs and mashed potatoes.

Brighter Day is striving to break the stereotypes people hold about the natural foods trend. Don is confident that every curious customer will leave having found something to his or her taste. Brighter Day allows vegetarians and carnivorous-cravers to share a table, bonded by a menu they can both embrace.

If the food fails to create the right atmosphere, allow live music to do the job. Two-to-three Fridays of every month Brighter Day employs a live band. Bulgarian guitarist Dimitar Zarev takes the corner stage the first Friday of each month. His place is taken by other acoustic acts on the alternating weekends.

Soft strumming and thoughtful lyrics fill the restaurant, while still allowing conversation among tables.

During the day, Brighter Day joins the business bustle and flips itself into a deli. Hurried workers order at the counter and take a fresh deli sandwich or salad back to the office, drawing the inquisitive eye of the fast food addict in the next cubicle.

Have a little more time to linger during the day? Wander over into the market side of Brighter Day. Spices, vitamins, soup, pancake mix, and various grocery items line the metal shelves. You can find almost anything that you set your organic mind to.

Brighter Day strives to make every visit an experience. The warm and neighborly vibe in the space lays the groundwork. As the extensive menu, unlike any other in the town, greets patrons, they realize that dinner is sure to top last nights frozen food. Live music then fills in any gaps in conversation. Leave with leftovers or groceries and return for another fresh take on natural.

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