About three times now, I’ve traveled up to Pulaski, Tennessee and had lunch at The Yellow Deli. It was my friend Anne who originally suggested we go here, and while from the sound of it, The Yellow Deli doesn’t sound particularly interesting, just wait…
For one thing, they’re open 24 hours, five days a week. Well, to be exact, noon Sunday through 3p on Fridays. And it’s not just a restaurant, it’s the retail establishment of a religious movement.
They have tract-ish material around — a lot of it — so if you’d like to learn more about the beliefs of the people who work here, they want to share it. I’ve picked up a few. Mostly, it seems that things started in California in 1970 with The Jesus Movement. A man named Gene, from Tennessee, got involved in it, then was disheartened when the movement started losing momentum. He was guided by John 15:5. Really long story short, he married, he and his wife opened their homes to others, and they decided to leave their jobs and start a restaurant in order to be able to help the people who sought out them and their philosophy.
Eventually they stopped attending churches and decided to “be” the church, motivated by Acts 2:44 and Acts 4:32 about sharing all things in common. The group grew, so they sent out ‘disciples’ to establish other communities. If you look at the list of Yellow Deli locations now, there are 22. There are dozens of communities, extending to Canada, Brazil, Argentina, England, Czech Republic, France, Spain, and Australia.
They’re called the Twelve Tribes, and from their website, they describe themselves as “…a confederation of twelve worldwide self-governing tribes, made up of self-governing communities. We are disciples of the Son of G-d…We follow the pattern of the early church written in Acts 2:44 and 4:32, sharing all things in common. We believe everything that is written in the Old and New Covenants of the Bible.”
Looking at their website today, there’s a notice that the delis will be closed for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. Now, I’m Jewish, so RH and YK are definitely non-working holidays, but only certain days of Sukkot are non-working days, not the whole week. It sounds like, though, they take off the whole week of Sukkot.
Besides the restaurants, they have farms, run the communities, and have an 888 # in which they invite people to call them any time to learn more. They’re open to people joining, definitely. In fact, one of the publications I picked up mentions:
“We have breakfast together and then go to work together in our own Yellow Delis, farms, cottage industries, and trades. All income goes into a common purse from which all of our needs are met. We don’t have our own independent income or debts to carry by ourselves…”
It goes on to mention that they love and cherish their children, teaching them at home with their own curriculum, and they “learn to cook and sew, build and farm, care for animals, sing and dance, play musical instruments…”
One can see how incredibly talented the people are of the group who put these places together. The pics above and below are of the dumbwaiter they use to bring food up from the ground-floor kitchen to the second floor.
As for the food? Delicious.