SAME is wonderfully different: pay what you want

By Ashley Kasprzak, JVA Consulting

My colleagues, Janine and Collin, from JVA Consulting joined me for lunch at SAME Café today. This is the place that I blogged about a few days ago. The full moniker is So All May Eat and it’s located on bustling Colfax in Denver. We walked into the cool, colorful, small restaurant and were immediately greeted by founder Brad Birkys. It wasn’t immediately clear that he was the owner, yet I thought that was the case since he exuded quiet confidence and speed.

Brad and Libby Birkys, founders of SAME Cafe

The food was delicious and atmosphere welcoming. We had spinach pizza accompanied by an arugula, pear and walnut salad. The yellow walls were livened up with children’s artwork and inspirational sayings. The limited menu is healthy and changes daily. SAME’s tagline is wonderfully different. They strive to have good food for everyone and raise money for those facing food insecurity.

I was finally motivated to visit SAME today after writing about the national restaurant chain, Panera, which recently opened a similar model in St. Louis. I asked Brad if he knew about that one. He smiled and showed a tiny bit of pride when he explained that several people from St. Louis Bread Company Cares visited SAME a few months ago. They wanted to explore how it was working here after Brad, and his wife Libby, successfully have operated the nonprofit for four years. Brad said that since Panera is piloting a similar model, it brings validity to this manner of raising awareness and funds for good causes. Denver has long been known for its social innovation—SAME is one more example.


This entry was posted in Commentary, Community, Hunger/food insecurity, Social enterprise, Social innovators, Trends and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to SAME is wonderfully different: pay what you want

  1. alandmei says:

    A close friend took me to One World in Salt Lake City ( and given all the knowledge I have about restaurants, I was fascinated, and loved the concept and combination. I grew up immersed in the restaurant industry and this concept has been fascinating to discuss with my family. When I am in Salt Lake I am sure to visit One World at least once on my trip. And now I will add SAME as well. Thanks Ashley!

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