One World Cafe

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Coordinates: 40°46′05.5″N 111°52′56″W / 40.768194°N 111.88222°W / 40.768194; -111.88222

The One World Cafe

One World Everybody Eats (OWEE) is a nonprofit community kitchen and foundation, originally based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Its motto is "a hand up, not a hand out." The community kitchen concept is a restaurant based on a gift economy, allowing patrons to "pay what they can" and serving all members of the community regardless of their ability to pay. The Cafe incorporates volunteer and common-effort aspects similar to those of a community garden. The organization believes in providing all who eat high quality, all natural, simple food and asks patrons to give fairly in exchange so that everyone can partake.


The cafe serves food according to a "no-menu, no prices" model. A pay-what-you-want model is used.[1][2]

If customers cannot afford to pay, they can volunteer at the cafe doing dishes, cooking, or working in the garden, and receive meal vouchers in exchange for the work they perform. Patrons can also pay for a meal by donating supplies or organically grown produce to the cafe. A wish list is maintained in the cafe for those interested in donating specific supplies. One World does not turn anyone away for inability to pay. All patrons are asked to give fairly in exchange for their meal, but ultimately relies on a gift economy and freely feeds all who come in.


The cafe serves an organic, natural, and local cuisine that includes vegan, vegetarian and meat dishes.

There is no standard menu, the fare changes daily based on the availability of local food (often donations from patrons) and the Chef's inspiration. Although there is no menu, One World Everybody Eats specializes in "home-style" dishes from around the world featuring staples such as bread, soup, salad, entree, organic coffees and teas, dessert, grains, quiche, and dal and rice. The cafe purchases foodstuffs locally whenever possible.


The One World Cafe was founded by Denise Cerreta in 2003, and is one of the first pay-as-you-can cafes in the world.[1][3] The One World Everybody Eats Foundation[4] grew out of the concept of the cafe, to promote the social goals the cafe epitomizes.

Many in the food-service industry were skeptical that a restaurant business model that doesn't include set food prices would actually work, but One World Everybody Eats maintained the model since its inception, unfortunately it eventually closed.

In 2006, the founders of the SAME Cafe ("So All May Eat") in Denver, Colorado used the One World Cafe model as a basis for their own community kitchen.[3][5]

In 2008, the founders of One World Spokane opened using the OWEE model.

In 2009, One World founder, Denise Cerreta, stepped down from daily operation of the cafe, in order to focus on helping other communities open restaurants using the OWEE model.

In 2009, A Better World Cafe in Highland Park, New Jersey opened using the OWEE model.

In 2010, the OWEE Foundation began hosting a yearly summit in January for entrepreneurs with restaurants based on One World's model as well as those interested in starting one.

On October 19, 2011, The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation (formerly the Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation) opened the JBJ Soul Kitchen, a community restaurant where patrons pay what they can afford for their meal, either with money or by volunteering work.[6]

In Nov 2011 One World Spokane closed.[7]

In 2012, the original Salt Lake City location closed. [8]


The board and staff of One World Everybody Eats believes food and our relationship to it can be closely tied to numbers of personal and societal ills. They believe the community kitchen can provide a relatively classless environment for people from all social and economic groups to gather communally to enjoy healthy food, partaken of in a healthy way. Because customers are encouraged to choose their own portions, the incidence of overeating is almost nonexistent, and the cafe has almost zero food waste.[9]

One World Everybody Eats pays all its employees a living wage,[1] although staff wages in the restaurant industry are traditionally below minimum wage. And although One World Everybody Eats is helping to pioneer this mix of altruism and business, it fully encourages others to copy its concept, adapt it, or—if possible—improve upon its concept. The foundation even provides guidance for those interested in pursuing their own version of the community kitchen concept.[10]

The One World Everybody Eats Foundation has the goal of ending world hunger through the reproduction of the One World Everybody Eats model around the country and across the globe. Its volunteer-training program will certify volunteers in food service and handling, giving them a marketable skill in the food service industry.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Associated Press (July 6, 2004). "Restaurant depends on kindness of strangers". Newsweek (MSNBC). Retrieved 2007-03-27. 
  2. ^ Mantzaris, Anna (April 2008). "Pay-what-you-like Restaurants". Budget Travel. Retrieved 2009-03-10. 
  3. ^ a b Owens-Liston, Peta (2006-12-26). "Where 'Check Please' is Your Call". Time (CNN). Retrieved 2007-03-27. 
  4. ^ Edberg, Erika (2007-06-29). "Salt Lake restaurant makes no profit, just feeds the hungry". ABC 4 News. Retrieved 2007-03-27. 
  5. ^ Gergen, Chris; Gregg Vanourek (December 3, 2008). "The 'pay as you can' cafe". The Washington Times. Retrieved 2009-03-10. 
  6. ^ "About Us". Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation. Retrieved December 20, 2011. 
  7. ^ "One World Spokane closing - Too Many Cooks - - Nov. 1, 2011". Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  8. ^ "About Us". One World Everybody Eats Foundation. Retrieved September 1, 2013. 
  9. ^ Moore, Carrie A. (2003-12-25). "Cafe nourishes body and soul". Deseret News. Retrieved 2007-03-27. 
  10. ^ Spirit in Business: Guide for Starting a Community Kitchen

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