Rock & Roll Jersey boy, Jon Bon Jovi opened a restaurant in the heart of Red Bank, NJ called, “Soul Kitchen.” This is no ordinary eatery and absent from Soul Kitchen is any cheesy Hollywood-themed profiting that is so common among the rich and famous who open restaurants. Jon does not profit from Soul Kitchen. The first of its kind as a not-for-profit restaurant whose philosophy is, “hope is delicious” where all people rich, poor, homeless, good, bad, beautiful, ugly, have a place to gather and be treated with respect regardless of social or economic status. Once you enter Soul Kitchen, everyone is truly equal.
Soul Kitchen is open 2 hours daily (closed Wednesday) and is staffed by rotating volunteers from gourmet chefs to the bus boy. The menu is simple and elegant and many of its ingredients are grown in a garden right on the property which is also cared for by volunteers. The place is gorgeous and clean and customers are encouraged to socialize by dining and sitting at tables with strangers. Unlike any restaurant before it, the manager, Ryan Timmons fully engages all patrons with friendliness and respect making certain that each person feels welcome and comfortable.
Perhaps most unique and incredible about this place is there are no prices on the menu and its not because its expensive. There are literally no prices. There is a “suggested” donation of ten dollars for those who can afford it to cover the cost of the 3-course, upscale, gourmet meal. When the waitress brings your check, it is a plain small folder where what you have decided or could afford to pay, is private, even if that payment is zero. For the generous you can also pay more and offset the cost for the meals of others.
My visit to Soul Kitchen was on June 21st, 2013 where half of the monies for the day were donated to New Jersey’s victims of devastating hurricane Sandy. I spoke with a 7 year old girl and asked her how her meal was. She replied with a dead serious tone, “that was the best soup I ever had in my life.” Well, this writer had the salmon and I agree with her completely. It really was one of the best tasting meals I’ve ever eaten.
A unique experience. Incredible for this rich and famous rockstar to operate such a business but that is the spirit of the people of New Jersey, to take care of each other. Kudos to Jon Bon Jovi for doing it right ! Check out Soul Kitchen yourself located at 207 Monmouth Street, Red Bank, New Jersey 07701. Like Soul Kitchen on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JBJSoulKitchen