Have you ever had the pleasure of dining at non-profit restaurant? My first experience was in Salt Lake City,UT at One World Cafe. There were no prices on the menu and you were given a tiny envelope to pay what you can. If you were unable to pay, you could volunteer for an hour or two and cover your meal in work trade. It was so interesting to see serious business people in suits sitting next to a motley crue of colorful characters that were down on their luck, all happy to be enjoying a plate of comfort food.
The concept is the brainchild of owner Denise Cerreta and more of the community cafe models are popping up across the country. I was super excited to learn that Bend,OR has its own outpost called the Common Table. These types of cafes allow people who normally wouldn’t be able to dine out the ability to enjoy local, organic, healthy food. And if you can pay, you know your dollar is contributing towards the greater good of uniting people through the love of real food.
Common Table’s space is open and welcoming with a long communal table in the center. If you don’t feel like making new friends, choose one of the smaller tables after you’ve ordered your meal at the counter.
I love sampling different types of kombucha beverages and the Kombucha Mama Chai hit the spot. Just the right amount of spicy effervescence to wet my palette before diving into my Tempeh BLT – smoked tempeh, arugula, tomato, onion and a bowl of tomato bisque. The soup was everything I wanted it to be… tangy, rich tomato flavor without being artificially sweet or overly salty. The BLT was nice to dip into the soup but a bit bland on its own. I think they just needed to season the tempeh to give it a life of its own.
By the time I ate my beautiful side salad, I was completely stuffed. No room to even contemplate dessert on this visit!
My cousin had this decadent plate of Smoked Tomato Mac ‘n Cheese and his wife enjoyed a Pumpkin Risotto with a Winter Salad of shaved fennel, gorgonzola, & apple walnut vinaigrette
There is a featured menu item each day offered on a “pay what you can” basis. I’ll have to give it a try on my next visit.
I’m officially putting this order out to the Universe: I would like to open a non-profit community cafe in my home town. No one should ever go hungry and no one should have to ask for a hand out when we can offer and hand up. We’re all in this together, let’s take care of each other.
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