Deciding between the spicy peanut stew and the pesto chicken, or the squash soup and the avocado, chicken, lime soup, are not the only decisions tempting patrons at the One World CafÃ© in Salt Lake City and the SAME (So All Might Eat) CafÃ© in Denver. They must also decide what the meal is worth. These pay-as-you-can cafes have missions that are unapologetically altruisticâ€”call it serving up fare Robin Hood style. “Our philosophy is that everyone, regardless of economic status, deserves the chance to eat healthy, organic food while being treated with dignity,” explains Brad Birky, who opened SAME with his wife, Libby, in October. Customers who have no money are encouraged to exchange an hour of service â€” sweep, wash the dishes, weed the organic garden â€” for a meal. Likewise, guests who have money are encouraged to leave a little extra to offset the meals of those who have less to give. “We’re a hand up, not a hand out,” says One World owner Denise Cerreta, who prides herself on the fact that everyone can afford a meal at her cafÃ©.
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