Listen To This Post
Husband and wife Robert and Arielle Ashford are continuing their mission to create community spaces for those in recovery by opening a restaurant and coffee shop this spring. The Philly Voice reports that the Ashfords will open a vegan restaurant called The Volstead by Unity in Manayunk between mid-February to March and a coffee shop called Unity Java to open in Roxborough in April or May. The Ashfords, who met while in recovery, started Unity Recovery in 2017 to offer community-centric support services for people with mental health and substance abuse issues.
They went on to open Unity Yoga wellness center in Manayunk in 2019, with a second location in 2020. That same year they opened Unity Taqueria in Roxborough. The Ashfords aim to have about 80 percent of their staff be individuals in recovery from substance abuse, have mental health issues or re-enter the workforce after being incarcerated. They describe their mission as bringing “recovery friendly places into the public eye.”
“We’ve heard so many stories from family members who have lost people, or people in recovery themselves, saying that they finally feel seen,” Robert Ashford told Philly Voice. “They’re not relegated to church basements and hidden in society. They can come out and enjoy and live their lives.”
The Volstead by Unity will be located at 4371 Main St. and offer full-service vegan dining and an alcohol-free bar. The “sober bar” will provide traditional cocktails made with alcohol-free or zero-proof liquor, which still tastes like booze but isn’t intoxicating. Unity Java will be located at 5312 Ridge Ave.
“We learned this really quickly when we started the yoga studio. Building that community where all kinds of people can come together and interact and share those stories did a lot in service to humanize people who have been stigmatized for decades,” Ashford said. “As a person in recovery, I want to be able to have the same type of experiences and feel safe in doing so, and feel like what I’m engaging in and spending money on is something that is actually made for me. Sometimes it doesn’t always feel that way.”