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New Kensington's 'Pay What You Can Restaurant' Is Filling A Need In The Community

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. (KDKA) -- There is more than food on the menu here at the Knead Community Cafe.

There is also nourishment for the soul.

It isn't your average lunch crowd or just any eatery.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Joined together breaking bread are those who can afford to pay for the meal and those who cannot, but everyone gets to eat a nutritious meal.

Elizabeth Grey knows that all too well.

"I like it here," Grey said. "They are good people and they want to help the community."

The cafe is right in the heart of New Kensington.

It opened its doors three years ago this month.

Owners Mary and Kevin Bode say it has become a gathering spot in the neighborhood.

"We don't have prices on our menus but suggested donations," Mary said.

Most meals are no more than $8.

The Bodes created the Christian-based eatery and told KDKA's Brenda Waters that there are 50 like it across the country.

"If people can pay the suggested price, that's one option. Some people pay it forward, anything above the donation. If people have a few dollars, they can say, 'I only have a few dollars.'"

Those who can't pay can volunteer for an hour for a meal, something Wayne Pittman Jr. says he has done since the day he came in for help.

"I was fully homeless and I was beaten up and I came here," Pittman said. "I didn't have nothing, didn't have a penny to my name."

The cafe is housed in the old Sons of Italy building.

Thirty percent of the budget comes from fundraising and the rest comes from private donations, sponsors and foundation support.

It is open Tuesday through Saturday.

Paul Marcantonio, a long-time resident, says he dines here with friends twice a month.

"I've been here my whole life in New Kensington, born and raised here," Marcantonio said. "I saw it when it was a booming town. It will never be like that again, but they (the Bodes) are going to help make it better."

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