Only the most dastardly multinational could have masterminded an evil empire like the Inspiration Corporation. They're your typical corporate nightmare, giving kickbacks to homeless folk and refugees in the form of employment opportunities and social services. Really, the white-collar culture has just gone too far this time.
Now let us dislodge our tongues from our cheeks.
The food-service arm of the non-profit, community-based Inspiration Corporation, Cafe Too provides the homeless with on-the-job training and licensing to jumpstart careers in the restaurant industry. The service here is friendly and fast, and everyone seems proud of their restaurant and the work they do. The place is well-lit and spotless, from the sleek bamboo floor (dotted with tables covered with real cloth) to the ultra-modern, stretched-canvas ceiling. The decor does not scream "cozy neighborhood joint," but you'll no doubt feel comfortable within the soothing sage and butter pecan walls, and there's always a smiling face ready with another refill for your coffee.
The chefs go through a rigorous 13-week program at the restaurant, where they provide patrons with a simple and relatively diverse menu as part of their training. Cafe Too has its own special blend of Intelligentsia coffee, and homemade pastries are available all day. Dishes range from comfort foods like potato chowder, BLTs and breakfast burritos to the more avant-garde apple-fennel salad and South African sea bass. But you don't come to a place like Cafe Too for wacky culinary acrobatics, you come for good, uncomplicated food and a sense of satisfaction that you can't get at a typical restaurant. Lunch entrees will set you back about $8 and dinner entrees average around $13, and all your cash goes right back into the system to help the trainees achieve self-sufficiency.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Eden Robins