Jon Bon Jovi Opens Pay-What-You-Can Restaurant in New Jersey

Truth rating: 10

By Michael Lewittes


Jon Bon Jovi can sure dish it out, and doesn’t want you to pay (full price) for it. Along with his wife, Dorethea, the rocker today opened a restaurant in Red Bank, New Jersey called The Soul Kitchen, where patrons pay what they can.

The restaurant is the latest endeavor by the singer, whose Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation has built more than 250 homes for low-income residents. “When I learned that one in six people in this country goes to bed hungry, I thought this was the next phase of the Foundation’s work,” Bon Jovi told the Associated Press.

“This is not a soup kitchen,” stressed the singer. “You can come here with the dignity of linens and silver, and you’re served a healthy, nutritious meal.”

Bon Jovi explained, “There’s no prices on our menu, so if you want to come and you want to make a difference, leave a $20 in the envelope [provided] on the table. If you can’t afford to eat, you can bus tables, you can wait tables, you can work in the kitchen as a dishwasher or sous chef.” If someone doesn’t want to do that, “We’ll take you back to [local food pantry] Lunch Break to volunteer with those people,” said Bon Jovi.

Once someone volunteers at Lunch break, for example, that person gets a certificate for a meal at The Soul Kitchen. “If you come in and say, ‘I’m hungry,’ we’ll feed you,” said Bon Jovi, who emphasized, “But we’re going to need you to do something… This is not an entitlement thing. This is about empowering people because you have to earn that gift certificate.”

But if someone can more easily afford dinner at The Soul Kitchen, Bon Jovi asks those patrons to pay market value for their meals or even more to help sustain The Soul Kitchen. What do you think of Bon Jovi’s revolutionary restaurant?

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