Couple Starts Soup Kitchen For The 'Average Joe'

There is a sign on the wall of the SAME Cafe in Denver that reads: It is easy to make a buck. It is a lot harder to make a difference. That statement just seems to fit this restaurant on east Colfax.

"SAME is an acronym that stands for So All May Eat. And that's the philosophy behind the restaurant. We believe everyone deserves a really good meal no matter how much or how little they have in their pocket," said SAME Cafe Founder Brad Libby.

The main ingredient here is paying it forward. A glance at the menu board reveals an ever changing variety of meals all made with locally grown, organic food. You also notice there are no set prices.

"We serve anyone who walks in the door regardless of their ability to pay. We ask each person to participate in some way whether it is a donation of money or time," said BradÂ’s wife, Libby Birky.

In other words you pay whatever you can afford for your lunch. If you have no money you can donate an hour of your time in exchange for a meal.

"We wanted to reach out to a population of people that wouldn't necessarily be comfortable going to a soup kitchen or a shelter," said Brad.

SAME Cafe caters to those on the bubble. As Libby puts it: "There are college kids scraping by, elderly on a fixed income, single moms."

They may be scraping by on minimum wage, but still make too much to qualify for assistance. But make no mistake; the SAME Cafe enjoys a great mix of customers. People from all walks of life love the food and atmosphere here.

"It is more like a nice restaurant than it is a place to come and eat if you don't have any money," said Patrick, a regular customer.

Brad said, "It is really a community space. It is not just a restaurant."

"We pretty much know everybody by name here. They have become our family and friends. We didn't know any of these people before we opened it," said Libby.

Libby and Brad started the SAME Cafe three years ago. Since then they have served more than 35,000 meals. They had never run a restaurant before this. They describe themselves as foodies with a passion for helping others.

"Talk about two wonderful people who operate a clean and safe place to come and eat. It is a wonderful gift," said Patrick.

The SAME Cafe is on east Colfax near York Street in Denver. It is open for lunch every day but Sunday.

To learn more go to www.SoAllMayEat.org.