A new way to dine in the metro has created a lot of buzz.
The customers don't have to pay a dime, and it's not even a restaurant. A warm greeting, friendly service and a hearty plate of food all make for an enjoyable experience.
It's a new concept that the Kansas City Community Kitchen provides for the hundreds of people that enter its doors every day. Helping the homeless and needy for 30 years, the Community Kitchen said that its restaurant service breaks down the walls of stigma and poverty.
About KC Community Kitchen
"Now we see our guests really enjoy the ability to come relax, enjoy a healthy, nutritious, beautiful meal," CEO Beau Heyen said.
The kitchen is run through Episcopal Community Services at 7th & Paseo.
"It's like, they got waitresses that come and wait on you, ask you what you need, bring you what you need," diner Sharece Shelby said. "You got help. You don't have to get up to get anything."
It's something that has never been done in Kansas City.
Heyen said it doesn't cost more to do it.
"Just a couple more volunteers," Heyen said.
And the food is good. A typical menu would be oven-roasted chicken with bacon green beans, or even lamb.
"I love it," Shelby said. "It's seasoned. It's just right."
About the food
That's the big thing for diners at the kitchen. Everyone commented on how well the food is seasoned.
Mostly run on donations, the food is prepped by students in the Culinary Cornerstones Training Program, one of the Community Kitchen's partnerships. The students are under-employed and homeless. In the 12-week program, they learn culinary skills, time management, how to take criticism and how to manage finances.
Kevin Beard is one of those students and said he loves what he does, adding that the food is excellent.
"It's not just something somebody threw together and gave you with no seasoning and you're eating it just to survive," Beard said.
He said he sees a part of himself in all the faces that sit down at the table.
"I've been homeless. I've seen the ups and downs. I came through this line many a day. And a lot of times, just a smile, it kind of enlightens your day."
Anyone is welcome, no questions asked.
"I saw the ability of creating community around food. And around really that dignity and respect," Heyen said.
The Kansas City Community Kitchen serves free meals from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. The restaurant service launched in February, but the kitchen has been at that location for six years.
In the next two years they hope to open up five more kitchens in the following locations: KCK, Olathe, Hickman Mills, Midtown and Shawnee.
Sarah Plake can be reached at email@example.com .