It’s another scorching day and I’ve been in and out of the sweltering heat shuttling kids from school to sports to scouts. My blouse is stuck to my back, not to mention, who has time for an early evening grocery store run? The kids are hungry for dinner NOW. I’m out of gas (literally and figuratively) which is exactly why I pull into Safro’s–thanking my lucky stars (and look for them in their logo) that a business like this has been born.
Safro’s is a gourmet boutique located on Roswell Road in Buckhead (across from Genki Sushi) founded by Mims Bledsoe – also baker and business brains behind the thriving Pie Shop. Safro’s sells freshly prepared, frozen dishes. Though it just opened for business earlier this summer, it was born conceptually November 14 at Pie Shop.
“Pie Shop always does strong holiday business,” Bledsoe explains. “This holiday season, our customers kept asking for prepared side dishes they could take home with their pie, like sweet potato casserole, asparagus, green beans and dressing. We saw a need in the market for fresh, quality, handmade dishes and decided to answer it. As a test for future sales, we sold the dishes during the holidays and they sold as well as our pies. It was revolutionary.”
Born an entrepreneur, Bledsoe began looking for a storefront. The theme for the store was already decided, it would be named “Safro’s” in honor of her late sister Catherine Chapman. Catherine was 14 years older than Bledsoe.
“She was the life of the party,” Bledsoe says. “She changed the energy in the room. I learned everything I know from her and she was my biggest cheerleader. She passed away three years ago, leaving a void in our lives and the life of her daughter Caleigh.” Catherine’s love of travel and collecting gourmet food and kitchen items inspired Mims, and she named her new shop after sister.
“I was going to name the store ‘Catherine’s Casseroles’ but I wanted it to be specific to her so I chose ‘Safro’ because it was her childhood nickname,” Bledsoe shares. Immediately a space became available across the street from Pie Shop. The timing was opportune.
Speaking of timing, Bledsoe notes that her customers have a wide range of needs and little time, thus the freshly prepared dishes are a haven for hungry customers like me. She feeds over-scheduled families, business executives popping in after work and those in need of a good gift for families who have a newborn or meals for the family of someone ill in the hospital. The convenience is not wasted on me. Perusing the store, I ponder many mouth-watering choices. Meatloaf is Bledsoe’s favorite (it’s always wise to ask the chef). Mexican casserole is the store’s best seller (and a kudos to Safro because it is also gluten free). There is also barbecue pork with spoonbread, ratatouille, chicken tettrazini and chili cornbread – enough to delight an army.
I select the pot roast because I discern my children will savor a hearty meat and potatoes with wild rice. At a meager $8-12 for a small casserole (it feeds 2-3) and $18-23 for a large (that feeds around 6), dinner is done. I just have to uncork wine and, voila! I’m satiated (and I haven’t even digested a morsel yet). I think the best part about Safro’s is that I have a delicious dinner on the table in minutes… and for the first time today, I haven’t even broken a sweat!