5 eateries where giving back is a priority


Throughout May SHARE Charlotte will be talking about the organizations that work every day to make sure Charlotte residents are fed, that they have access to fresh foods and that they are educated about healthy food choices. #Food4GoodCLT

As a frequent restaurant-goer with way too many choices, I’ve begun to choose where I dine largely by the restaurant’s impact on the community. If you’re like me and need a break from cooking, but want to dine out with a good conscience, here are some places you can go to eat well and DO GOOD.

The Mayobird & Summit Room

If you’ve been on East Boulevard at all in the last three years you’ve probably stopped by The Mayobird or its next-door neighbor, Summit Room. But what you may not have realized is that both restaurants, owned and operated by Deedee Mills, were created to fund Behailu Academy in NoDa, an after-school refuge for at-risk youth to find peace and opportunity through art.

This summer Mills will open two more restaurants with the same business model with 10 percent net profits going to Behailu. Look forward to Joe and Nosh, a coffee and sandwich shop, and The Pack House, a dinner spot serving southern cuisine that pays homage to North Carolina’s tobacco industry. Both restaurants are scheduled to open this summer.

The Mayobird1531 East Blvd., Open daily, 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Summit Room1531 East Blvd. Open Monday-Saturday, 5 p.m. – Close

The King’s Kitchen & Bakery

The King’s Kitchen & Bakery opened in 2010 on the corner of Trade and Church. The Southern cuisine is top notch; it’s a Jim Noble restaurant, after all.

The profits and proceeds from The King’s Kitchen go toward feeding the poor and operating the on-site job-training and life-skills development program offered to interns through the Charlotte Mecklenburg Dream Center. You may be enjoying a fabulous lunch or dinner while helping someone else make a new life for him or herself.

The King’s Kitchen & Bakery129 W. Trade St.

Open for lunch: Monday – Friday, 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Open for dinner: Monday – Saturday, 5 p.m. – Close

Julia’s Cafe & Books

If you need a quiet coffee shop that’s not too far from Uptown, but has excellent parking, you needn’t travel further south than Wendover.  Proceeds from this coffee spot and bookstore support Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte.

If you want to grab a book to read, Julia’s, which shares space with Habitat’s ReStore, offers a huge and unique selection of used books as well as locally roasted coffee. If you want a bite to eat, there are local and organic breakfast and lunch options available provided by Friendship Kitchen, the catering service of Friendship Trays.

Julia’s Cafe & Books1133 N. Wendover Rd.

Open Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Open Saturday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Community Culinary School of Charlotte Cafe

This cafe on Monroe Road that sits in an unassuming strip mall is well worth a visit during lunch and is easy to get to for a midday break. But here’s the real deal: Community Culinary School of Charlotte uses the cafe to train adults who face barriers to long-term successful employment in the food service industry.

As Executive Director Chef Ron Ahlert often says, “We’re not just creating cooks, we’re creating employees.”

Founded in 1997, the School has grown from its inaugural class of two students in a one-room section of unfinished warehouse bay. Last August, 846 at-risk adults had completed the program. And bonus? The food is great! Grab lunch at the cafe and take home some baked goods.

Community Culinary School of Charlotte Cafe9315-D Monroe Road

Open Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Cherubs Cafe

Nestled in the heart of downtown Belmont on Main Street is Cherubs Café, a breakfast and lunch spot featuring soups, salads and sandwiches, ice creams, fresh-baked desserts and gourmet and specialty coffees. Holy Angels, an organization that provides compassionate, dependable care and opportunities for high-quality living to those with intellectual developmental disabilities and delicate medical conditions, owns and operates Cherubs Café and Cherubs Candy Bouquet, which is also on Main Street.

Cherubs Cafe allows Holy Angels residents the opportunity to socialize, learn about the business and ultimately provide these residents with important vocational training which can lead to better employment options. All profits are used to fund programs and services of Holy Angels.

Cherubs Cafe23 North Main St., Belmont, NC

Open Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Bonus: If you’re just looking for a beverage…

You can head to NoDa Brewing (2921 N Tryon St.) on Mondays for “You Drink, We Donate” where different causes and organizations receive a portion of proceeds from 4-9 p.m. You can also check out Three Spirits (5046 Old Pineville Road) on Thursdays for “Thankful Thursdays,” which benefit local organizations.

Photos: Addie Rising, The King’s Kitchen


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