By Greta Weiner
Have you heard about Karma Cafe? They’re coming up on their sixth month of doing business with a twist. Karma Cafe is no ordinary restaurant; it’s a community effort to raise the food, bring the food to the table, and ensure that everyone who walks through the doors, eats.
Wade McCullough travelled around the world learning more and more about food, food preparation, and the food business. At a place in Melbourne, Australia, called Lentil as Anything, McCullough got a new perspective on what sharing food means. He modeled Karma Cafe on Lentil. Starting from the Farmer’s Market, other events, food trucks and catering, McCullough finally opened Karma Cafe and started sharing food. Delicious, warm, good food.
And that’s an important difference – sharing food – as opposed to serving food. Wade’s vision for Karma Cafe is to create an atmosphere of helping the community. From the discounted food, the donated items, the volunteers, and those who donate over and above the cost of their meal, Karma Cafe facilitates people helping people. Everyone that walks in the doors pays something.
This vision was four years in the making, from that flash of inspiration (and hard work) at Lentil as Anything to the doors opening and operating successfully for several months at Karma Cafe. And while Karma Cafe is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, they are not one that gets big funding. This restaurant was built by our community.
The food comes from Karma Food / Karma Cafe’s own farm, and from our farmers’ markets. Often farmers will discount Karma Cafe’s purchases to help do their part in making the restaurant a success. Other food, like staples, nonperishables and such are donated or purchased from the money people have paid for their meals. Your waitresses, chefs and kitchen workers are all part-time workers and volunteers.
Karma’s food is good and good for you. While not a health food restaurant, Karma Cafe has no preservatives in their food and it’s all cooked from scratch. The meals are vegetable-heavy, locally sourced organic produce. Our feature photo is Karma Kafe’s biscuits and gravy, back by popular demand. Even the menu is a community effort, starting first from the produce available, then from experience of the chefs involved and, sometimes, you’ll get a favorite family recipe from someone’s nana.
So how does it all work? Well, if you follow their facebook page (listed below), they will post a picture of the menu board for the week. When you walk in, along the wall is everything you need. There’s the menu, a thermometer, a gratitude board, the box for donations and the jar for tips. The thermometer lets you know about what your meal and a drink costs, as well as the average donation amount for the week. The gratitude board rounds out the feel of commnity at this restaurant. You can write a note of gratitude or just leave a feel-good note for others to see.
Karma Cafe Details:
1617 San Pedro DR NE
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Tuesday – Sunday
9am – 3pm
Greta Weiner is a content creation consultant and writer, writing blogs and creating social media for businesses. As such she is also webmaster and social media manager for Elbow Room New Mexico. Learn more about her at: www.gretaweiner.com