NBC’s ‘Today’ highlights Raleigh’s first pay-what-you-can restaurant for helping feed others

Thanksgiving showcases the power of gathering around a table and sharing a plate of food.

NBC’s “Today” show will shine its national spotlight on a Raleigh restaurant committed to making more room at that table.

Kicking off Thanksgiving week, Raleigh nonprofit restaurant A Place at the Table will be featured on the “Today” show Monday morning. Look for Maggie Kane, the restaurant’s 27-year-old founder and executive director, in an interview segment in the 9 a.m. hour. Kane was interviewed by “Today” producers last week in the restaurant.

A Place at the Table opened in January, serving breakfast and lunch, but is best known for its pay-what-you-can-afford setup.

At the restaurant, customers can pay the price of the meal, or pay a little less if they need to, down to half the suggested price.

For those who can’t afford a meal, they can volunteer their time to buy food, cleaning and busing tables or working in the restaurant.

Maggie_Kane_APATT- credit Stacey Sprenz.jpg
Maggie Kane, Founder and Executive Director of Raleigh’s first pay-what-you-can café – A Place at the Table Stacey Sprenz

Many pay above the suggested price, providing charity meals for those who need them, or buying a $10 wooden meal token to hand out in the community.

In a monthly newsletter, Kane said the restaurant sees 20 to 40 volunteers every day, plus another five to 10 who pay a reduced price.

In its first year, the restaurant said it served 27,660 meals, nearly a fifth of which had been donated to diners who weren’t able to pay themselves. The amount of money and meals donated totaled more than $92,000. Volunteers paying for meals with their time contributed 8,279 hours of work.

Kane, a 2013 graduate of NC State, was recently named the university’s Outstanding Young Alumna.

Drew Jackson; 919-829-4707; @jdrewjackson
Related stories from Raleigh News & Observer