Imagine if a restaurant designates one of the offerings from its regular lunch menu as donation, "pay what you wish" item.
A new restaurant in Santa Fe, The Community Table Café, will make it part of its mission to draw awareness to food insecurity in the City Different. For sure, a free or low-cost meal a day to low-income customers won't end hunger in Santa Fe. But the fact is that this meal makes hunger awareness very much a part of the operation.
In announcing their grand opening, the owners of the restaurant, Christopher Kolon and Reingard Kolon, included the following statement.
New Mexico is ranked 2nd in the nation for food insecurity. 15% of Santa Fe residents are considered food insecure. Food Security exists when all people at all times have physical, social and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.
Speaking of the grand opening, the owners invite everyone to an opening party on Friday, July 15 at The Community Table Café, in Santa Fe at the Design Center, 418 Cerrillos Road, 5 – 7 PM . The featured speaker is Denise Cerreta of the One World Everybody Eats Foundation. The restaurant is part of this movement, which among other things promotes the creation of community kitchens. You might recall that the foundation held its 2011 gathering in Santa Fe in January.
About the new restaurant
The Community Table Café will feature a menu inspired by the seasons and will draw on traditional dishes from around the world, with an emphasis on Mediterranean cuisine.
The Community Table Café will focus on issues of food insecurity in the local community by offering one plate from the regular lunch menu each day on a donation basis, strictly pay-what-you-wish.
In addition, the restaurant will institute a volunteer program where anyone may volunteer in exchange for a meal or a meal token.
The Community Table subscribes to the vision statement of the One World Everybody Eats Foundation:
* We are dedicated to eliminating world hunger.
* We are dedicated to serving local ,organic, unprocessed food.
* We are dedicated to feeding and including all members of our community.
* We are dedicated to eliminating waste in the food industry.
* We believe that we can trust our customers to be inspired, honest and fair in their exchange of money and/or time for the fresh, local, organic food we prepare both mindfully and in a heartfelt way each day.
* We will keep believing ...
The MenuThe Community Table Café will be open for breakfast and lunch, Monday through Friday. Breakfast will consist of fresh pastries and made-to-order breakfast burritos.
The lunch menu will change each week. The menu’s basic structure will be composed of: 2 soups, 6 salads, 2 entrees, a vegetarian green chile burrito, a beet burger, Small Planet Plate and desserts.
Soups and salad and entrée plates come with a slice of house-made, whole grain, organic bread.
This type of changing menu will allow the owners to keep prices as low as possible and to source many local, seasonal ingredients.
Examples of dishes are: Mushroom risotto, Cheese Spaetzle, Pasta Arrabiatta, Morrocan carrot salad, Rosti with roasted veggies, Asian pasta salad, marinated beet salad, polenta gratin, fennel salad, and veggie enchiladas.
About the owners
Christopher and Reingard Kolon, have long and varied careers in the food service industry.
Christopher Kolon has lived in Santa Fe for 25 years, working as a chef, culinary instructor and food writer.
He created the vegetarian food program at the Nizhoni International Boarding School in 1989 and entered seminars and workshops for its parent organization, The Light Institute in Galisteo. He wrote a vegetarian cookbook for the organization entitled The Global Gourmet.
He was instrumental in opening Café Escalera, working with Chez Panisse chef, David Tanis and acclaimed vegetarian cookbook writer, Deborah Madison.
Mr. Kolon taught in the culinary program at Santa Fe Community College throughout the 1990s, founded Localflavor Magazine, and has operated several catering companies and coffee shops.
Reingard Kolon grew up in her family’s pub and restaurant in Graz, Austria. She is certified in Aryuvedic cooking and has owned several coffee shops both in Austria and the United States. She and her husband most recently operated Latitudes Espresso and Ice Cream in downtown Santa Fe.