Saturday, November 20, 2010

Small Price, Big Impact for Local Food in Denver

SAME Cafe serves up a whole lot of different. Wonderfully different, they tell customers. A small cafe, brown awning and gaggles of hipsters and homeless at tables outside and in. Several floral arrangements, donations of course, drape the shelves and table tops inside the restaurant. Simplicity and yet, something intricate taking place here. Meals such as Smoked Salmon & Red Onion Pizza, Mixed Greens w/ Fruit Salad, and Pomegranate Arugula Salad feature a delicious, yet healthy arrangement of ingredients.

Be prepared. Meals like this come at no small cost, or do they? At SAME Cafe, which stands for So All May Eat, a customer may pay for their meal in terms of a donation the size they see fit, or in fact just volunteer an hour of their time.

Diners in Denver looking for healthy food options at a low cost often have to sacrifice one desire for the other. The misconception is typically as follows: cheap options available include fast food and national chains, while health conscious, local farmers, and organic meals come at a higher price. The menu at SAME Cafe, for example, breaks the stereotype by offering healthy, locally grown food options at a potentially small price, whatever the customer can pay or an hour of service in the restaurant.

Groups like and are taking charge in ending this prevelant steryotpe; SAME Cafe as only one of the examples they post on their Local Flavor Guide, a guide for "finding locally sourced food food at independent local restaurants and markets". They firmly believe that "local food is just one aspect of building a better economy."

The initiative to eat healthily and locally is also supported by the Mile High Business Alliance who believes that "local businesses are the foundation of a resilient, connected and healthy economy. [There are] ways to strengthen the local food system and connect with locally owned restaurants and independent markets committed to supporting local farmers." and the Mile High Business Alliance have released the print Flavor Guide to different restaurants and businesses to raise awareness in the Denver community of local, healthy, and price-specific options. The guide includes restaurants such as City O' City and Watercourse, sister restaurants that both serve all vegetarian and vegan meal "comfort food" options. While these restaurants often get into the pricer range, they are not the only options for low-cost local food. In the Flavor Guide, Organixx, Sazza, Snooze AM Eatery all list as single $ (meaning entrees under $10) places in Denver to eat.

The guide ranges in dollar signs from $ to $$$ to signify the different pricing of entrees, so that consumers in Denver can be aware of how much they sre spending. SAME Cafe offers healthy and local options even to the down and out of Denver, as they leave it up to the customer to decide how to pay for their meal.

*Photos curtsey of

Video of Brad Birky from SAME Cafe:

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