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Food for the spirit
Blessed are the hard working: (Left to right) Grace Café employees Keagan Marks, Shadonna Henderson, Paula Banks, and owner Candace Goodwin at the counter of Grace Café. - photo by Michelle Kim

Many people are seeking an alternate plan considering the economic downfall. However, for Grace Café, their alternate plan is an extension of God’s whole plan.

Grace was what made it possible for Candace Goodwin to open up the restaurant in the location of the former Hot Dogs, Wings & Sweet Things off Parker Road in Conyers.

Once you enter you are graciously welcomed by the staff, and the room is filled with a feeling of warmth. Words of encouragement hang on the walls.

Delicious American food is presented by Goodwin and she greets everyone walking in the door with her award-winning smile. Their slogan is "Where the Blessing Is in Our Food," but just being there is a blessing. The ambiance is fueled by scripture: "By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them — yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me."

"I never thought of owning a restaurant," said Goodwin. "I waitressed for 10 years off and on as a part-time job until I began in real estate."

Goodwin dreamed of helping members at church because so many had lost their job or were unhappy with their jobs.

"I realized we had a lot of food service people and a lot of child-care workers at our church so I needed something that could involve one of these groups. God had me looking at restaurants (without money of course). Within three months of my looking at the first restaurant, I opened Grace. I named it Grace because I wanted a name that was strong and had a meaning but would make you think. I was in church one day and the choir was singing a song that said "How Great is Thy Grace" and we read scripture about Grace and it was like a light bulb. I said, ‘That’s it! GRACE.’

"Grace means God’s unmerited favor and I believe that I have the cafe only because of God’s favor. I don’t deserve it and didn't do anything to plan for it. I had no money to buy it but he gave it to me anyhow. That is only God’s favor," said Goodwin, excitedly.

Despite the blessings, it is still a weekly struggle to pull together the money for the payroll, said Goodwin. "I think about God’s favor and that is all that keeps me going because I still have no money. Honestly I don’t know how I have kept the place going in four months because I am not turning a profit yet, but I know the place has a lot of potential. I have a good staff and good food and God’s favor so I keep going," said Goodwin.

Working at the café is also a spiritual exercise. Goodwin approaches the business very personally. She requests all employees to write their personal goals and put them on her office wall and prays over their desires in hopes of providing a way to help them achieve their goals.

When considering the future Goodwin wants the café to bless the community. It is not a normal restaurant, she said. She wants to partner with a ministry in mind to help non working mothers so they can return contributing to society with confidence.

Grace is currently available for catering and in the near future will host a Cooking Camp for children. Grace Café is located at 1264 Parker Road Conyers. For more information on ordering or directions call
(770) 388-7773.