Table Grace Café
Offers a Slice of Hope
By Emily Brocker, Photography by Sarah Kay Bryan
Whether you’re down on your luck, between jobs or just on lunch break from one of
Table Grace Café’s mission is “to foster a healthy community by offering great food prepared and served in a graceful manner to anyone who walks through the door.” The commitment to great food is no accident. Owner and Chef Weber received his training at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in
Both Matt and Simone are active in
The Webers started their venture by offering personal chef services for single parents in their church. While this helped achieve their goal of easing hunger on a small scale, it wasn’t a sustainable business model. Matt wanted to pursue a business based on social entrepreneurship concepts—something that looked like a traditional business but helped the community at the same time. This is when Table Grace Ministries, a registered 501© (3) nonprofit organization, was formed.
Matt knew the next step was to open a restaurant, similar to one he had visited in
“When we first opened, we were serving about 20 customers a day,” he said. “We’ve seen that increase to about 40 customers today. Ideally, we hope to serve 60 people a day by the end of this year.” While Table Grace has its regulars, the majority of those are patrons who aren’t able to pay much for their meals. To meet the goal of serving 60 people a day, long-term, Table Grace needs more paying patrons.
But attracting a more socioeconomically diverse clientele isn’t just about the money. “It’s about creating a sense of community and bringing awareness to hunger issues,” Matt said. One of Table Grace’s unwritten goals is to unite the community to find viable, long-lasting solutions for
Just as crucial to helping solve hunger issues is Table Grace’s two-week restaurant internship program. Individuals who are down on their luck, looking for a job in the food service industry or hoping to develop some new skills are able to apply for the internship program. If accepted, interns learn a variety of food-service techniques, including food handling, sanitation, dishwashing, food preparation and food safety. At the conclusion of the two weeks, Matt provides the interns with a letter of recommendation, assistance with their résumé and advice on job hunting. A number of interns through Table Grace’s internship program have gone on to find jobs in restaurants around town thanks to the training and new beginning Table Grace offered them.
Matt has big plans for the future. “My hope is to develop relationships with organizations throughout
Emily Brocker is a writer and a self-confessed “live to eat” type of person. Coming from a long line of