Maggie Kane believes a simple meal can build community and conversation.
And she believes everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status or race, should be able to have those experiences in a restaurant setting.
To make those ideas doable and affordable, she’s opening A Place at the Table, a pay-what-you-can restaurant near the campus of N.C. State University.
“We believe food is the way to connect people,” Kane said. “We believe there are walls and barriers that exist because of the class of people. We want all classes of people to come with dignity and for healthy local food.”
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The restaurant is part of One World Everybody Eats, a nonprofit that aims to reduce food waste and hunger through its more than 50 community cafes across the country.
Patrons will eat at the restaurant, Kane hopes, in exchange for a donation, which she anticipates to be around $5 or $7, or by volunteering to do things like picking up trash, sweeping or doing dishes. She hopes the model, which calls for 80 percent of customers paying the suggested prices, will help establish the sense of community she’s after, and eventually help the restaurant become sustainable.
“We would like you to volunteer,” said Kane, 24. “We don’t want to say it’s a forced thing.”
Kane says she’s still working out the menu, but hopes to offer foods such as breads, soups, salads, desserts, pancakes and grits, and she could potentially serve breakfast all day.
As a way to alleviate food waste, Kane says she wants to accept foods that other restaurants would throw away.
Kane says the place will be set up with an “interactive serving line,” which means customers get their food, then get a receipt and take their food to a table. This keeps the pressure of paying off the patron while they’re in line getting food.
The 1,000-square-foot restaurant is about to begin fundraising, and Kane says she might eventually do a crowdfunding campaign for a specific need such as kitchen equipment.
Kane expects to open A Place at the Table, which is in the process of applying for nonprofit status, in January.
It will be in the former Two Guys Pizza spot, near the corner of Hillsborough and Horne streets in Raleigh. To donate, go to aplaceatthetableraleigh.org.
Just down Hillsborough Street from A Place at the Table, on a strip once occupied by Sadlack’s Heroes and Schoolkids Records, retail shops are expected to start opening this summer in the under-construction Aloft Hotel.
Among them will be the second location of Jubala Coffee, a North Raleigh cafe that opened in 2011 and has been expanding ever since.
“We’ve been in business for four-and-a-half years, have grown every single year, literally month to month,” said Jubala owner Andrew Cash. “We have grown to capacity at our first store. There’s only so much you can do at one store.”
The new Jubala Coffee’s core menu will stay the same, Cash said, and include foods such as homemade biscuits, Liège waffles and sandwiches like the pimento bacon.
The larger space, however, also means a larger menu, one that includes brunch on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays with eggs benedict, biscuits with fried chicken and blueberry buckwheat pancakes, along with daily dishes with rotating quick breads, hot sandwiches and salads.
The coffee menu will be the same at both spots, using only beans from Durham roaster Counter Culture that are made into everything from macchiatos, cappuccinos and espressos to cold brews, lattes and pourovers.
Cash says he wants the new place to be more cafe than coffee shop, so he plans to offer two types of service: one for those who want take-out, and the other for those who want to stay to eat or relax.
Jubala is expected to open Aug. 20 at 2100 Hillsborough St., across from the N.C. State Belltower.
Garner’s first Taco Bell has opened in the former Locked & Loaded spot at 1125 Hwy. 70 West.