Community Cafés are an innovative model of public dining designed to offer fresh healthy food to all persons regardless of their ability to pay in traditional ways. Diners may choose to pay with cash, credit card, volunteerism or even pay it forward for another diner. The One World Everybody Eats organization supports the development of community cafes like ours across the country and continues to provide inspiration for our work through their summits and resources.
Since June, 2014, Tulsa’s Table has offered numerous pay what you can community cafes on a pop up basis across the city of Tulsa. Through collaborations with community partners like Phillips Theological Seminary, Greenwood Cultural Center, Thornton YMCA, St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church and East Side Christian Church, we’ve served hundreds of locally-sourced meals to people from all walks of life and varying economic capacity.
At Tulsa’s Table, we strive to source all of our menu items from those who invest their lives in growing food locally. As a result, we have developed relationships with local farmers and distributors through the merchants at the Cherry Street Farmers Market to ensure that the best of local, fresh, nutritional food arrives on our table. You probably won’t see the same items on our menu month to month, because food that is grown locally is only available for certain seasons of the year. We believe that dining seasonally brings us all to a new awareness of the gifts of the earth and appreciation for the limited availability of the foods we enjoy.
Because our purpose at Tulsa’s Table is to provide educational and work experiences for at-risk youth, we’ve intentionally designed our café model to provide the career readiness they need to enter the workforce as employable food and restaurant industry workers while also addressing the food insecurity needs of the community around them. When you share a meal with us, you may see students chopping vegetables or serving drinks to diners, but behind the scenes, students will be actively engaged in learning the full scope of café operations, increasing science, technology, engineering and math skills and earning certificates for each phase of learning they experience.