Jasmine Kitchen + other purpose driven restaurants

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Jasmine Kitchen | Photo by the GVLtoday team

Greenville will soon be home to a restaurant that’s serving up scratch-made comfort food with a heaping side of community service.

Jasmine Kitchen, the cheerful yellow building on Augusta Street, is set to open on Feb. 10. and while their food service is something to look forward to – with a lunch menu of sandwiches, soups, salads + dessertstheir social mission is what really sets them apart.

Jasmine Kitchen is the social enterprise of Jasmine Road, a Greenville-based nonprofit supporting survivors of sexual exploitation + addiction. Jasmine Kitchen will support Jasmine Road’s mission by providing women in their residential program with employment + job training.

Here’s how it works: After six months in Jasmine Road’s program, women can begin working at the restaurant. In the time that they’re with Jasmine Kitchen, women are equipped with a resume of culinary training, work in the service industry, financial empowerment + education, and a sense of belonging in the community. Jasmine Road aims to support and empower the women who are a part of their program, providing them with the resources + skills to thrive independently.

What’s more, just by dining at Jasmine Kitchen the community can support their mission. All proceeds from the restaurant go back to fund Jasmine Road.

A warm + welcoming place to eat, the interior of Jasmine Kitchen | Photo by @jeanwilsonfreeman

It’s a concept that nourishes communities, and they’re not the only ones to do it. Here are some other restaurants serving purpose driven plates:

🍽️ A Place at the Table, Raleigh, N.C.
This pay-what-you-can cafe is one of 60+ restaurants in the One World Everybody Eats global network. Customers have multiple options for paying for their meal (including volunteer time) + patrons who are able can pay it forward by purchasing $10 meal tokens.  

🍽️ The King’s Kitchen, Charlotte, N.C.
A nonprofit restaurant providing job training + life-skills programing to “Charlotteans in search of a new beginning.” 100% of their profits from sales go towards feeding the poor in their region.  

🍽️ The Café at Thistle Farms, Nashville, TN
At The Café at Thistle Farms patrons enjoy a meal served by graduates of the Thistle Farms 2-year residential program, designed for women who have faced trafficking + addiction.

🍽️ Rosa’s Fresh Pizza, Philadelphia, PA
Although this pizza joint closed in 2019, it was one of the most notable examples of a restaurant operating with a pay-it-forward mission. They went viral for their wall full of colorful sticky notes (each representing a customer who had paid for another’s meal) + were even featured on Ellen.

Woodside Bistro’s Paying it Forward wall | Photo by the GVLtoday team

Another restaurant in Greenville that’s simultaneously serving the community + delicious bites is Woodside Bistro. The Village of West Greenville eatery has a “Paying it Forward” wall where diners are able to purchase meal cards for diners-in-need to exchange for a free lunch.

That’s the kind of “soul food” we’re craving.