DENVER, COLORADO. It’s not your usual story about restaurants, food, or about prices and cash registers.
It’s about serving people, serving dignity, and serving hope.
You see, when you have lunch at SAME Café, you become part of a larger mission of helping others, So All May Eat.
SAME Café, sandwiched between local bars, thrift stores and tattoo parlors on East Colfax Avenue, is the loving work of Brad and Libby Birky. “We think that everybody deserves to eat well,” says Brad. They started the small restaurant by borrowing from their own retirement accounts when no bank would lend them money.
The menu changes daily and features soups, salads and pizza, using mostly organic ingredients prepared fresh by chef Brad.
Customers place their food order and receive a small envelope in which they put their donation for the food they eat. There is no cash register, credit card machine or change drawer. Some pay sparingly. Others are extremely generous. Others can’t pay. They are encouraged to donate an hour doing dishes, sweeping floors, wiping tables, doing some mopping.
Today, with the economy, SAME Café finds more people volunteering.
Despite that, affluent couples mix with those in need. Each enjoys the good food, the chance to be warm and to sit and chat.
One news reporter likened SAME to Gandhi’s admonition to “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Brad and Libby are inspiring builders of a better society. One thing we know is that there are many other Brads and Libbys out there. Their spirit of giving is part of who we are, too. The question is how we will pass it on to others.