By Jill Nagy
“Eat good, feel good, do good” is the mantra
of the Good Morning Cafe recently opened in
The cafe, at 2100 Doubleday Avenue (Route
50) in the Carousel Center, is a breakfast and
lunch restaurant offering freshly prepared
local, organic and fair-traded foods and part
of the proceeds go to five community organizations.
After 25 years as a professional fundraiser, owner Nancy Holzman wanted to try a different approach, one that she terms “direct giving.”
“I want to make a bigger difference for a smaller group of people,” she said.
Before she was ready to go into the philanthropic restaurant business, however, Holzman had to learn how to operate a restaurant. She took courses, worked in restaurants, did research, and managed a take-out gourmet food store in Boston for three years. She also spent several weeks at The Good Egg, a restaurant in Portland ,Maine, with a philosophy similar to hers.
She had access to all aspects of the Good Egg operation during three week-long visits. Good Morning Cafe serves traditional breakfast items: eggs, pancakes, ham, cereals, toast, the works.
“You don’t have to be healthy and hippy,” she said, adding the food is “just pure goodness.” But for the healthy and hippy–or just fussy– there are also vegan and gluten-free selections.
Holzman is especially proud of her vegetable hash made of carrots, onions, cabbage, butternut squash, tofu and seasonings and served with sauteed broccoli or seasonal greens. For lunch, the menu features soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts.
Ingredients are, in most cases, from local farmers and other providers. The coffee, tea and hot chocolate come from Equal Exchange, which markets produce from small farmers. The cafe offers patrons the opportunity for “eating good foods and supporting your community.”
The heart of the enterprise is the chance to give back. Order a bowl of soup and you will contribute five cents to the Good Neighbor Fund. Eat a salad and help the Good Earth Fund. The nickels will add up and, at the end of the year, each organization will receive a check from the cafe.
In addition, Holzman plans a separate fundraiser for each charity. The funds were selected because “they do things that are very important to me and the mission of the organization.” The business model, which Holzman calls Five for Five Funds, is, she thinks, unique to her operation. This year’s recipients are: the Good Neighbor Fund, which provides direct assistance to neighbors in need; the Good Earth Fund, which funds regional environmental, green and sustainability projects; the Good Health Fund, which promotes healthy living through education and exercise; the Good Global Friends Fund, which raises funds for small rural farming villages in Cambodia and Uganda; and the Goodness Fund, which supports hospice and small local non-profits that help individuals and families dealing with end-of-life issues.
Currently, the cafe has 12 employees, including a cook (“All the recipes are mine but I have a cook,” she explained.) and a sustainability and community outreach coordinator. The coordinator will help organize workshops on wellness, active living, and cooking and preparing local foods. They will also promote programs in local schools focused on the environment, gardening and nutrition.
Good Morning Cafe is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. They are closed Mondays. Menus and information about the cafe and the Five for Five Funds can be found at www.goodmorningbreakfast.com. The telephone number is 309-3359.