Rock star Jon Bon Jovi and his wife Dorothea have opened a “pay-what-you-can” restaurant in a former auto body shop near the Red Bank train station in central New Jersey.
The restaurant, called The Soul Kitchen, offers gourmet-quality meals for the hungry allowing them to volunteer on community projects in place of visiting a soup kitchen. Paying customers can leave whatever they want in envelopes on the table, where the menus never list a price.
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At the grand opening on Wednesday, Bon Jovi said, “With the economic downturn, one of the things I noticed was that disposable income was one of the first things that went. Dining out, the family going out to a restaurant, mom not having to cook, dad not having to clean up — a lot of memories were made around restaurant tables.
“When I learned that one in six people in this country goes to bed hungry, I thought this was the next phase of the Foundation’s work,” he said.
There’s only one thing he’s adamant about: “This is not a soup kitchen. You can come here with the dignity of linens and silver, and you’re served a healthy, nutritious meal. This is not burgers and fries.
“There’s no prices on our menu, so if you want to come and you want to make a difference, leave a $20 in the envelope on the table. If you can’t afford to eat, you can bus tables, you can wait tables, you can work in the kitchen as a dishwasher or sous chef,” he said. “If you say to me, ‘I’m not a people person,’ I say, ‘That’s not a problem. We’ll take you back to Lunch Break to volunteer with those people. If you don’t want to volunteer with that, we’ll take you to the FoodBank.”
What an amazing thing to do! Thank you, Bon Jovi!
[image: The Guardian]