Last year, I told you about St. Louis Bread Company Cares, a restaurant run by the same company that runs Panera Bread. At the restaurant, customers pay what they can. There are no menu prices.

I just read on Organic Nation TV about a similar restaurant in Denver, Colo., called SAME Café. SAME stands for So All May Eat. What’s impressive about SAME Café is that it’s an independent restaurant run by a husband and wife. It doesn’t have the corporate backing that the St. Louis Bread Company Cares has, so it’s a much bigger risk.

SAME Café is run by Brad and Libby Birky and a team of volunteers who prepare organic and mostly local meals daily. Customers pay what they can in an anonymous payment box. Those who can’t afford to pay anything are welcome to volunteer at the restaurant. The money in the box covers about 75 percent of the restaurant’s expenses. Grants and other donations cover the rest of the expenses.

You can see SAME Café in operation in this video shot by Organic Nation TV:

So All May Eat from OrganicNation on Vimeo.

SAME Café’s “philosophy is that everyone, regardless of economic status, deserves the chance to eat healthy food while being treated with dignity.” Do you think that a business model like SAME’s accomplishes this goal? 

MNN homepage image: Pingwin/iStockphoto

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

In Denver, everyone can afford to eat organic
At the SAME Café in Denver, Colorado, diners pay what they can for organic and local dishes.