August 5, 2011
Downtown Omaha café gathers diners for healthy meals
No one should be denied the opportunity to enjoy healthy food because they can’t afford it. That’s the driving force behind the Table Grace Café, a new nonprofit eatery in downtown Omaha.
“Our goal is to feed everybody who walks through the door, regardless of their ability to pay,” says co-owner and chef Matt Weber. “We believe everybody deserves the chance to eat wonderful food while being treated with dignity and respect.”
Table Grace Café, which opened in April 2011, is a program of Table Grace Ministries. Weber and his wife, Simone, started the organization as an outgrowth of their involvement with the food pantry at First Lutheran Church in Omaha.
The café is open 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Saturday; it melds a menu of gourmet soup, salad and pizza with good-for-you eating. There’s no cash register on site—instead, diners are asked to pay what they can. The result: People from all walks of life are coming together to share a healthy experience for both mind and spirit.
As another part of its service to the community, the café offers a 10-day internship program. Those interested in working in a restaurant can get on-the-job training and job assistance from volunteers.
The Webers also have made a two-fold pledge to Partners for a Healthy Community. They’re collaborating with a local designer to install an “artistic” bike rack on the sidewalk in front of the café—a way to show diners they’re bike friendly and committed to good health.
They’re also planning to host produce education classes. The sessions are designed to help the public get hands-on experience preparing fresh food from local markets and community gardens.
“Things are going great,” Weber says. “Teaming up with Partners for a Healthy Community is a perfect fit for how we want to feed people. The more people we get involved, the more successful we can be.”