By: Alex Givens
Chattanooga, TN (UTC/The Loop) – “Go Green” by eating yellow- Yellow Deli, that is.
For some, the Yellow Deliis a place of studying solitude. It provides an earthy atmosphere where students, business men and friends can come together over a hot cup of fresh herbal tea and enjoy fresh hand made bread. It is best compared to what it would be like to live inside of a tree trunk that Sunny and Cher hand painted in the 60’s.
Since 1978 the Yellow Deli has provided a wide variety of fresh garden made from vegetables grown in the garden to organic breakfast muffins with berries. According to one of the “Found Fathers” of the Deli, Ayal, the Deli Roast is the most popular sandwich. Nothing they serve has been prepackaged.
For those that have ventured into the Yellow Deli they have seen the colorful walls decorated with Biblical images as well as a feature that makes the Deli unique. Everything inside of the Deli is made from reclaimed wood, “We tore down old buildings and put it all together. We even straightened out nails! We were just out of the 60’s so the decor is out of the 60’s” says an enthusiastic Ayal.
Along with a variety of delicious meals to choose from, the Deli began producing all natural beauty products from lotions to creams. This addition came in 1979. Not only does it have a beauty bar, but there is also a smoothie bar where patrons can choose from a variety of fresh blended drinks.
Their food is not the only thing that has the people buzzing. The religious practices of the Deli has also raised a few eyebrows. They are considered to be one of the “Twelve Tribes” that participate in the Jesus Movement that began in 1972 by Gene Spriggs.
Originally the “community” began at a coffee shop called “The Lighthouse” where the members lived communally and then opened the Yellow Deli. Their division from the traditional route of religious practice raised concern from Chattanooga’s Citizen Freedom Foundation who deemed the group a ‘cult’.
Of the many people who find their practices to be on the “cultish” side, Karne Draper of Utah who was once a member of their “family” lived with them for two weeks before deciding she did not agree with their lifestyle choices or religious practices. According to Draper, the “Supreme Disciple” who will remain unnamed, is in charge of every detail of their lives including what they eat and wear.
Draper, who was a student at Chattanooga State College withdrew herself from the program after speaking to her academic counselor, “You should have seen the look on my counselor’s face when I told him what I was doing. I just smiled and said, ‘I found Jesus!’”.
While her experience there was less than pleasant that does not speak for the entire population. There are many who have found their food, service and attitudes to be pleasant and more than satisfactory. Experience it for yourself over a hot bowl of soup or a hot discussion about your religious practices. Both are popular options on the menu at the Yellow Deli.