What’s not to like about Jon Bon Jovi? Good looks: Check. Musical talent: Check. Altruism? Check-check-check-check-check-check… (wait, I think that’s the sound of my heart beating faster…)
Bon Jovi’s new restaurant, Soul Kitchen, opened last month in Red Bank, New Jersey. Its catchy tagline: “Hope is Delicious.” Well, if hope comes grilled to perfection and drizzled in a balsamic glaze, then I’d probably have to agree.
The premise of the place is that whether or not your pocket’s full, your belly is guaranteed to be. Everyone hungry is welcome, and no prices are printed on the menus. If you’re down on your luck, you can pay little or nothing. If you’re in a position to fork over more than the basic cost of your meal ($10), you’ll help subsidize another person’s salmon fillet. Anyone, whether flush or flat broke, can work off the restaurant’s costs by volunteering as kitchen or serving help.
Bon Jovi says his idea was inspired by a Colorado café called SAME (So All May Eat), where people in need can nosh, then volunteer in lieu of paying their tab. “At a time when 1 in 5 families are living at or below the poverty line and 1 in 6 children in NJ are food insecure, this is a restaurant whose time has come,” he writes on his blog. Bon Jovi hopes Soul Kitchen will spark similar initiatives in other communities.
I’m not sure exactly which desserts are on this restaurant’s menu, but clearly there’s no shortage of sweetness in this establishment. Rock on.