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Featured Article

Serving Food With A Purpose

The Brown Bag Way

Article by Karen Creason

Photography by Provided

Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle

In a world filled with bland catering options and fast-food chains, Brown Bag in Cool Springs offers something different - a place where food isn't just sustenance, but a way of spreading love. Founded in 2009 by Peter Brown, Brown Bag is a heartfelt culinary journey that began in a home kitchen and has now grown into five locations serving food with a purpose and a commitment to giving back to the community.

Catered meals often amount to uninspiring pre-made sandwiches and bags of chips served in a brown paper bag. Peter Brown dreamt of offering simple, delicious, and healthy catering at affordable prices. Starting from his kitchen, he opened the first
Brown Bag location in Knoxville in 2011. The success of Brown Bag wasn't just about mouthwatering dishes; it was about
creating strong community bonds, serving food with a purpose, and reflecting their Christian faith through great food and service. Marked by organic growth driven by the trust and appreciation of the community, Brown Bag thrived.

Fast forward to 2016, when Brown Bag decided to expand to Cool Springs. The demand grew so quickly that they established a dedicated commercial kitchen in South Nashville in 2017. Today, Brown Bag Nashville prepares 500-600 catered meals a day
and is embedded firmly within the hearts of its customers and communities.

Brown Bag’s success reflects its commitment to serving the community. Owner/operator, Jacob Brown, sums it up this way: "The only reason we are in business is because of the community.” Their heartwarming and tummy-filling "Brown Bag Blessing" initiative aims to bless individuals or families celebrating or struggling. With just 24 hours notice, Brown Bag will provide a full meal for up to six people at no cost. There are no strings attached and only one question is asked: "How can we pray for you today?," underscoring the company's genuine commitment to its communities' well-being and reinforcing its mission of reflecting their faith through action.

At the Cool Springs location, Brown Bag provides three to five Brown Bag Blessings each day. Jacob emphasizes, "We aren’t a charity and we certainly aren’t perfect. We are a group of folks in the food service industry who want to love the way Christ did and this is one way we do that.”

Brown Bag is “a family-friendly gathering place offering first-class service regardless of age, gender, religion, or race,” co-owner/operator Becca Butterfield states. Jacob adds, “It's a place where anyone can come in and have a great meal, but more importantly, experience the warmth of a welcoming community.”

Catering is at the heart of Brown Bag's operation. They excel in offering elevated lunches suitable for executive meetings and office gatherings. Their extensive menu options, including grilled or teriyaki flank steak and chicken, roasted pork tenderloin, fajita bars, and more, cater to a wide range of tastes and dietary preferences. "We try not to say no," says Jacob. Brown Bag’s success isn't driven by marketing budgets or numbers but by personal service and word-of-mouth recommendations. Operating from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, the hours may be limited, but their impact on the community is immeasurable.

Brown Bag's journey from a modest home kitchen to a thriving community business exemplifies the power of great food, excellent service, and community engagement. Brown Bag continues to make a meaningful difference in people's lives. In a world often defined by fast-paced living, Brown Bag reminds us that the simple act of sharing a meal can bring comfort, joy, and a sense of belonging.