400-The Life has been privileged to tell the stories of so many interesting people who live along the Ga. 400 corridor. We wanted to check back in with some to see how they're doing and what they're up to.
This month — Atlanta's food truck queen.
About this article
- This article was originally published in the August 2017 issue of 400-The Life, a publication of the Forsyth County News. To read the entire magazine, click here.
How we met
Dawn Hall is the owner of Happy Belly Curbside Kitchen food truck and of Fork in the Road, her self-made business that organizes the food truck rallies throughout Atlanta up Ga. 400 to Roswell, Alpharetta and Cumming.
Hall and her husband, Terry, started the food truck as a duo carrying out their dream, but she had to continue the business on her own – and as a single mother – when he passed away at the age of 40 only six months after being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Her youngest child was 6 months old.
When Hall and her husband started Happy Belly five years ago, their goal was always to open a brick and mortar restaurant with the same concept as the food truck – convenient food that does not sacrifice high-quality ingredients. When Terry passed away, she didn’t know if it was still attainable. But the hope never faded.
“We have a commissary in Smyrna as our base of operations. It’s centrally located in Atlanta, but now – I live in Cumming – with the drive of going there all the time, it’s wearing on me and the kids. I’m trying to get out of the mobile business.”
In the next few weeks, Happy Belly will open its doors in Vickery Village as a multifaceted restaurant.
“My vision was the have character and charm in my restaurant, ideally an old house. Vickery Village offered the quaintness, the charm, the community atmosphere.”
The menu will be the same, with seasonal ingredients, all clean eating, fresh, healthy. She added a grab-and-go aspect to mirror the quick delivery of a food truck. Patrons can order at the counter and have their food delivered to the table. They can take it to go, spend 10 minutes there or sit on the patio and relax, enjoy a beer or a glass of wine. There will be games and activities for kids. Pre-made take-and-bake meals will also be sold.
“Everything in Vickery is table service, which is great, but I am marketing more toward families. I’m the demographic of my own company, which is great so I feel like I know what’s needed. You hope to go home to your family to make a home-cooked meal, but you’re stuck in traffic and won’t have time. They’ll be able to run to Happy Belly, grab a veggie lasagna and put it in the oven for 20 minutes, and dinner is made. The little time we have to spend with our families need to be spent with them.”