Indigo Road’s Steve Palmer wants to help Atlanta restaurant workers battle substance abuse

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The restaurateur, who created support group Ben’s Friends, hopes to launch a local chapter

The Indigo Road Restaurant Group’s Steve Palmer, an Atlanta native, owns fifteen bars and restaurants in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia—including Atlanta’s Oak Steakhouse, Colletta, and O-Ku. Palmer says his most important work, though, is for Ben’s Friends.

The 501(c)(3) is named for chef Ben Murray, Palmer’s friend and colleague who battled addiction and depression. Murray ultimately committed suicide last year, and Palmer founded Ben’s Friends soon after.

“At its core, it’s a group of people who have a common goal of trying to stay sober,” says Palmer, who has himself been in recovery for 15 years. The group meets every Sunday at an old cigar warehouse in Charleston. “It’s a safe space to talk.”

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Jaci Lund