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Close your eyes and get a visual picture of a soup kitchen. You probably see people waiting in a line for a tray of food and then going to sit at a long row of tables. That’s not what The Bishop Sullivan Center’s soup kitchen on Troost Avenue looks like.
“One City Cafe” is the center’s restaurant-style soup kitchen. The redesigned cafe opened earlier this year and allows guests to dine with dignity. It serves food restaurant-style to guests, with service including greeters, waiters and a side of respect.
"When people come in our doors, they're going to be greeted, they're going to sit down, we're going to serve them, they're going to have choices, and we're also focusing on healthy foods as well," said Doug Langner, director, The Bishop Sullivan Center. The Center is one of Harvesters’ partner agencies.
The cafe offers delicious, healthy meals and the menu changes daily. Langner said they want to bring out the “inner foodie” that is in everyone and the cafe’s chef prepares meals with ingredients that have good nutritional value.
“People come here to see their friends and make new friends. We want to bring people together around a table,” he adds.
Nikki R. and her three children visited One City cafe, and she said she was surprised by what she found.
“I’ve never seen anything like this. It caught me off guard the first time I came in. There’s art on the walls, there’s music and they have WiFi,” she said.
“We can come here and sit together at a table and talk with each other,” she added. “The food is amazing – the better the food, the better the conversation. The people here make you feel welcome.”
A key aspect to the center’s dining with dignity concept, is the cafe’s “pay what you can concept”. Those who can pay a little, do. Those who can’t, can still get a free meal. “We want anyone that needs a meal to come here and not worry if they can’t afford to pay for it,” Langer said.