Husband, wife entrepreneurs expand Manayunk eatery aimed at helping in recovery

Upstairs at Volstead By Unity will be dining for a full service vegan restaurant and downstairs will be a zero-proof bar.
MANAYUNK (WPVI) -- Their mission is to create community spaces for those in recovery.

Husband and wife entrepreneurs in Manayunk are bringing recovery friendly spaces into the public eye with two new eateries that will open this spring.

Upstairs will be the dining for a full service vegan restaurant and downstairs will be a zero-proof bar.

That's right - alcohol free liqueurs have become a new trend.

Volstead by Unity is a new vegan spot that's more than just an eatery and Arielle and Robert Ashford say it's the type of space they would have liked to have seen when they were coming out of recovery.

"I can't tell you all the times people were looking at me weird, like why don't you drink?" said Arielle.
Arielle and Robert met while in recovery and started Unity Recovery in 2017 to offer support services to those dealing with mental health and substance abuse issues.

Two yoga studios, a community center and a taco restaurant later, they're expanding in year three of the pandemic. And while it's not a criteria, the majority of the staff are in recovery.

"This project in hiring people in recovery, returning from incarceration and creating spaces that identify like that in community to come hang out, we're creating the things that we wanted to see for ourselves nine years ago," said Robert.

It's also one of the reasons, head Chef Frederick Morris was quick sign on.

"A lot of people have situations where they make mistakes and a lot of people won't hire them or give them an opportunity," said Chef Morris.
It's a mission that is deeply personal for the Ashfords.

"It's our life story, and those are the best things that manifest in life, when it has a personal plea," said Robert.

One of the things the Ashfords really emphasized was the importance for businesses to become recovery friendly and to take a chance on someone that rest of society has rendered invisible.

Volstead opens next month and the couple has a coffee shop opening in Roxborough this Spring as well.
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