SAME Café in Denver: Making Good Food Accessible To All


“We knew that people are good and honest and fair and that’s really what we built our entire business model on, that people are good.” – Libby Birky

Organic food is often criticized for pricing out lower-income populations who can't afford to shop at boutique groceries or farmer’s markets. SAME Café owners Brad and Libby Birky have created a neighborhood restaurant where everyone can enjoy a great meal made of high quality ingredients -- regardless of whether they can afford it. SAME is an acronym for "So All May Eat," and it refers to the pay-what-you-can system of the restaurant. And if you don't have a few bucks in your pocket, you can always volunteer in exchange for a healthy meal.

The restaurant covers 75% of its total costs with what people put in the anonymous payment box and the rest is covered by grants and individual donations. Because of the pay structure, the clientele at SAME is as diverse as you'll ever find in a sit-down restaurant; college students, homeless people, and families all eat together. It’s a beautiful example innovation and community building around something that everyone loves: good food.

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Video produced by Dorothée Royal-Hedinger and Mark Andrew Boyer at

Music by Dlek, Ilusion of Safety, Food Will Win the War