CUP is What's Up!
February 11, 2014 by Audrey Johnson
When Paulette DeGraw suddenly lost her mother three years ago, she never dreamed that she would become a restaurateur. But Paulette embraced the "life is too short" mentality that often accompanies grief and transplanted her life from Atlanta to South Walton. The mother of five now lives at the beach with her husband Bryan and their youngest son. The couple keep busy running their two businesses: 30A Design Group, an interior design and construction company; and CUP Food You Pick Up at Redfish Village in Blue Mountain Beach, an exciting new concept in healthy eating on the go.
Paulette knows that divine intervention led her to this point. “We have a great team; I mean God kind of put all the right people in our path. Every time we said, ‘Well we don’t know the first thing about x,y, or z,’ we would meet somebody or somebody would send us an email or our phone would ring and it was an answer to whatever that hole was that needed to be filled,” she says.
Her chance meeting with owner and manager Christa Chastain was no exception. One day they struck up a conversation in the bleachers at their sons’ baseball game, and Paulette learned that Christa and her husband had experience in the restaurant business. Now, the two families are part of a group of owners spread across Mississippi, Florida, and Georgia, with plans to expand CUP throughout the Southeast.
“Redfish Village is our flagship store for this chain concept. This location is where we will train our owner/operators. It is also our test kitchen and brand building location,” Paulette says.
CUP meals are delicious and convenient, making them the perfect option for health-conscious movers and shakers. Each meal contains 20 ounces of food complete with its own "CUPlement" - a complimentary condiment sauce. Flavors range from the burger-inspired Bottoms UP with Pasta and Cheese, Seasoned Steak, Grape Tomato, Pickles, Potato Stix and a Savory Sauce; to the sushi-inspired Tune UP with Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna, Cabbage, Pineapple, Quinoa, Edamame and a Ginger Wasabi Glaze. Most of the recipes, including the desert CUPs, are gluten free.
CUP’s Greenware packaging is annually renewable creating an economical and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional catering. The food layering method in each CUP keeps the food from breaking down, and they’re good for up to seven days after purchase. The colorful layers are attractive, and the handy CUPs eliminate the need for plates and seating. What’s more, CUP can fill special requests with advance notice.
Proceeds from each sale subsidize Compassion CUP, a fundraising program that builds awareness for non-profits that are making a difference in the community. Throughout the 2014 holiday season, CUP donated proceeds from Compassion CUP to Children’s Volunteer Health Network, and they are currently working with Food For Thought Outreach. CUP also lends support to the arts through Mic’d UP, an open mic night held monthly at their Redfish Village location.
“The arts in any community are lacking support, so it’s another way that we can pour back into the community that we’re in. We would look to do that in other cities as well,” says Paulette.
So whether you need a quick lunch to take to the beach, a weeks’ worth of quick meals to stash in the fridge, or catering for your next event, CUP’s what’s up! Visit them daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Redfish Village at 2050 Hwy 30A W., Blue Mountain Beach, Florida 32459, or call ahead at (850) 660-1165. Sign up for CUPdates and view the menu at www.pickupcup.com, and socialize at www.Facebook.com/CUPFoodYouPickUp. For ownership opportunities, contact Bryan DeGraw at (850) 660-1165.