Photo by L.G. Patterson
Food is part of so many traditions. It helps us celebrate love and loss, and fills your belly with comfort after a long day. That’s the goal of Belly Market & Rotisserie in south Columbia.
Benjamin Hamrah and Amanda Elliot, co-owners of Belly Market, created a one-stop-shop for people to enjoy food for any occasion, whether it’s a quick stop afterwork or a longer relaxing evening. “A big part of this place is having the patio and his space on the south side of town that people can come and enjoy after work or just on the way home,” Hamrah says. “But we also want people to stay and hang out,” Elliot adds.
Hamrah and Elliot opened Belly Market in July, taking over a core Columbia spot,Hoss’s Market and Rotisserie. For nearly two decades, Hoss’s served the Columbia community, and Hamrah says the initial transition was a little rocky. “When you come into a place that has been a staple for almost 20 years and make any kind of changes there is going to be a little pushback,” he says.
But Belly has kept some of Hoss’s traditions alive by providing some familiar items on the menu, “so the people who came in and got used to certain selections could come get those things.” Hamrah says this helped the community get used to the change and now customers have started to show their love for Belly’s salad, sandwich and hot case specials. “It’s been very welcoming,” Hamrah says.
While there are all kinds of menu items to choose from, Hamrah and Elliot both recommend choosing a fresh specialty item or anything from their hot case.“People can come in and enjoy items that have just come out of the oven or the pan; it’s ready to grab and go,” Hamrah says.
But he says you also can’t go wrong with a classic pastrami sandwich, made with house-cured pastrami, Swiss cheese and Dijon mustard served on rye bread.
Hamrah and Elliot both have a deep-rooted passion for creating delicious dishes to enjoy. Elliot grew up in mid-Missouri but found her passion at a culinary school in New York City before finding her way back to Columbia. “I needed family support from here, so I moved back here, and found my business partner,” Elliot says. Hamrah similarly grew up in mid-Missouri surrounded by the Columbia restaurant scene, thanks to his parents. In1996, his father opened Peachtree Catering, which Hamrah and Elliot now run together.
The duo also own Beet Box, a MiddleEastern restaurant in central Columbia.“We are lucky that we have a really great clientele through Peachtree and Beet Box, so we are seeing a lot of them come over to the south side,” Hamrah says.
All three businesses use locally sourced ingredients, which is one of Hamrah’s and Elliot’s greatest passions. “Keeping as many buying dollars as we can within our community, that’s something we take to heart in all of our businesses,” he says. And that fell right in line with the business Hoss’s had built, supporting local farmers and products in the community, knowing that people can really feel the difference when eating organic and local.
As for where the name Belly came from, Hamrah says the pair was joking and combined his first name with her last name to create Belly. That, along with the pork belly tattoo on Hamrah’s arm and a‘90s movie they both love, “Belly,” made the name seem like a perfect fit.
Belly Market is located at 1010 ClubVillage Drive. The market is open from10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, from10a.m.-3p.m. Wednesday and from10a.m.-2p.m. Saturday.For more information, visit eatbellymarket.com.