Selling groceries

Residents gathered at a side door to Pignetti’s Restaurant in Temple Thursday afternoon for a chance to purchase a variety of groceries. Some parked near where the groceries were being distributed and loaded up their cars with chicken, pasta and other essentials.

Milk, eggs, potatoes and bread are all pantry staples that were abundant and easily accessible just weeks ago.

Nowadays, though, they can be hard to find. Some residents have stocked up on food to stay at home as much as possible during the coronavirus pandemic.

Local restaurants have stepped up to fill some of the voids. Pignetti’s Restaurant in Temple, Miller’s Smokehouse and Grand Avenue Theaters in Belton are a few local establishments offering a limited selection of groceries to shoppers.

Pignetti’s, 14 S. Second St., started selling groceries over the weekend.

The downtown Temple Italian restaurant accepts orders at its site, pignettis.com.

“We didn’t start to sell groceries to make money,” Pignetti’s owner Clinton Harwell said on Facebook. “We started to sell groceries for two reasons: To help our community in a time of need (and) to help out our staff. All the gratuity made from to-go orders, deliveries and profit from the grocery boxes goes directly to our kitchen staff and servers after we cover the cost of the groceries.”

Pignetti’s is offering a variety of meats; eggs; rice; pinto beans; milk; vegetables, including potatoes; bread; toilet paper; and paper towels. The restaurant also has some of its sauces, baguettes and other specialty items for sale.

Harwell plans to offer additional items.

“We will be adding fresh bread and produce to the market as is available daily,” he said. “Since we have plenty of time at home for gardening, we will also have … herbs, peppers and tomatoes.”

Miller’s — 300 E. Central Ave., Belton — launched its grocery service on Friday.

“We have launched Miller’s Grocery List as a way to order some essentials during quarantine,” the barbecue joint said in a post to Facebook. “We don’t have everything, but we have the things we eat most.”

Miller’s is taking a local approach to its groceries. They partnered with Central Texas farms — Vital Farms of Austin, Mill-King Market & Creamery of McGregor and Whitehurst Heritage Farms of Brenham — to sell eggs and milk.

“We took a field trip to the farm this year, and immediately knew we had made a connection that would be part of our future,” Miller’s Smokehouse owner Dusty Miller said. “Sourcing eggs due to a global pandemic wasn’t exactly what we were thinking, but we are thankful for (Whitehurst’s) willingness to drop everything and load up as many eggs as he could spare for the people of Belton.”

Visit millerssmokehouse.com to place an order.

Grand Avenue Theaters, 2809 Oakmark Drive in Belton, offered a limited selection of groceries shortly this week.

They had some essentials available, including potatoes, eggs, milk, vegetables, ground beef, beans, instant yeast, bread and rice. The movie theater also had baby wipes and toilet paper.

Most items are sold out — including 14 gallon bags of popcorn.

“We want to do what we can to use our remaining limited supply chain to help some of you who may be struggling to find certain items in the stores,” the theater said on Facebook. “We are trial running this with some limited supply … to start.”

Belton Councilman David K. Leigh, one of the owners of Grand Avenue Theaters, said after a Council meeting on Tuesday that they had received more than 160 orders for groceries.