Thursday, June 12, 2008

One World Cafe - Where Everybody Eats

If your visiting Salt Lake City, Utah take a moment and go to One World Cafe, a different kind of restaurant that believes in the right of all people to eat a sustainable meal. Their mission is to end hunger in their community one meal at a time. There is no set menu and no set price for the food. A customer pays what they feel the meal is worth and if they can't pay they can volunteer time in exchange for the food.

One World Cafe is part of a growing trend - restaurants who serve the community as well as serving food. The meals are prepared by chefs with organic ingredients that are available that day. The menus are evolving, tasty and nutritionally complete. At One World Cafe there is a brochure that contains suggested donations for the food and staple items are complimentary. Unlike a soup kitchen, no one knows if you are paying or eating for free or using a voucher earned by volunteering. It's a hand up not a hand out. Dignity not degrading.

These cafes in cities like Salt Lake and Denver, CO are visited by people from all walks of life. The well-to-do come for the freshly prepared food and leave a little more in the donation box. The working poor get a balanced meal for a fair price. The impoverished wipe tables, do minor repairs, work in the garden, sweep the floor and even meditate and pray in exchange for a voucher. By eating and interacting together during meal time, the learn about each other. It quickly becomes apparent that we are all the same, with the same basic needs and desires.

I am so intrigued by this concept. I haven't stopped talking about it since I discovered it. I think my city could benefit from this type of restaurant. I'd love to be the one to open it. Denise Cerreta, the founder of One World Cafe and the One World Everybody Eats Foundation, is available to help people like me get started. She's posted a plan for new establishments on her website and is there as a mentor if needed.

Can you imagine? Please read more on the One World website. There is too much good information to put here. This is so simple and pure - everyone is entitled to food. Don't you agree?


firerobin said...

Wow, this sounds like a great concept -- I have never heard of it before. We have such a demand for the homeless here in downtown Dallas -- it would be a welcomed establishment.

Lisa McGlaun said...


The cool thing is it doesn't onl appeal to and help the homeless. It helps people from all walks of life. There are so many working poor in our country. People who are really struggling to keep their heads above water and don't want anyone to know.

This concept allows them to bring their families in for a balanced meal and keep their dignity at the same time. I think it's great!

Thanks for commenting.


Yasmin said...

A totally fantastic idea! Now, why doesn't my country have an eatery like this, I wonder??

I've been to one such eatery back in Melbourne last year, and we surely paid more because everyone there was really nice and to top it all off, the entire meal was really sumptuous.

It's indeed a great concept and will help a lot of people in food and as well as job aspects.

Lisa McGlaun said...


I live in a large city and I don't think there is one here. If there is I've never heard of it. We could really use an eatery with this concept. My husband and I are talking about finding ways to open one here.

Best Wishes,

Vienne said...

This is awesome! What a great idea. Human beings are so amazing when we open our eyes and hearts to each other.

Lisa McGlaun said...


I'm hoping to make a trip to Salt Lake City to check out One World Cafe. I want to see it in action and talk to the owners. I'm still so fascinated with the concept.


Anonymous said...

Starting such a place would require a major leap of faith, and some money, since I doubt there are any banks that would offer a loan for such a project, and I wonder if government's could actually help with such loose accounting. Still, who knows? It is a fascinating idea. It's still young. I wish them all the best, and I'm glad you called attention to it.

Lisa McGlaun said...


I wondered about those same things...I'm hoping if I get far enough with the idea of opening one in my city that the people at One World will hold true to their word and be mentors for all areas of running a business like this. I know the one in Salt Lake City operates as a non-profit off of private donations.

It will be interesting to find the answers to the questions you raised.


Poverty Reality said...

There is so much that could come from an environment like this. I think if their is a balance of appreciation and respect from every one it serves more than the need for food. Great idea.

Anonymous said...

I feel that it is important for those reading this article to know the following information:

On Friday October 17th the entire One World staff walked out of the establishment in protest of the unethical business practices of the founder Denise Cerreta and the board (Brian Meacham and Don Merrill). Cerreta, Meacham and Merrill have ignored the fact that proper paperwork has not been filed to legally categorize the business as a legitimate non-profit. Thus all claims of it being such are untrue. This breaks One World's promise to loyal patrons and destroys the original Vision the organization was to support and protect. Our community of former employees has been reaching out to Denise and the board for the past six days with the hope of resolving conflict and fixing the downfalls of the organization so that it can continue to serve the community in a legal and effective manner. However, Denise and the board have been unresponsive and refuse to meet with us (the former crew). Another reason for the walkout is the maltreatment of employees, even though we had been working for the past several months out of love as we have been unable to cash our paychecks. Furthermore, Denise has been blatantly discriminatory toward many members of our community who have done nothing but support us with no expectation of reimbursement.

One World is currently running on S.O.S services staffing agency.

Thus begins the sorrowful end of what once began with such a beautiful idea. Unfortunately the Ego of the founder has twisted it into an organization of deceit and secrecy.

For those interested, here is our official letter to the board.

To the One World Board:

Love and peace to you from the unified voice of the One World Staff. We would like to preface our list of grievances by approaching you with open minds and hearts. We would most importantly like you to understand that these do not stem from bitterness, but from sincere concerns for the well-being of the Vision we have all been a part of. It has indeed been a great vision, accompanied by loving people and a growing sense of community.

Despite the great things we have witnessed at One World, there have been persistent grievances we would like to make clear to you. We are presenting them to you as a unified staff with love for the vision and for the individuals as well:

*We would first off like to reiterate our love for One World and the vision it promotes. Without it, we would have left the restaurant when our checks did not cash months ago.

*The overall mission of One World states that its vision is to promote trust in the community and that we are a trust-based organization. We have not seen or felt the trust extended to the employees of the restaurant by the board; in return, the employees feel they cannot trust the board.

*Involvement in the kitchen with Denise especially is suspect to us. She has not been present these past months, and is gearing to leave us again in this time of crisis. Her actions and decisions have been portrayed as those of a qualified leader, yet her absence does not communicate those qualifications to us as a staff.

In conversations with Denise we have felt that there is no open dialogue or no room to respond to accusations or suspicions voiced.

We feel Denise especially is demeaning and disrespectful in the way she addresses employees, even while engaging with customers. She has interrupted conversations and interactions with caring patrons to berate at times overwhelmed staff members on less than pressing matters.

We also feel there has not been trust invested in the employees to care about the survival of the restaurant and act in such a manner. There has been unreasonable criticism and demeaning attitudes toward hard-working employees making sacrifices for the survival of the vision.

*We feel the organization of the foundation is not transparent. The actions and even membership of the board has not been clearly communicated. As well, any legal questions or concerns we have had have been circumvented or answered without sound backing, or have not even been validated with appropriate levels of response.

*We have felt manipulated and been given unrealistic expectations outside of job descriptions, training, or monetary compensation. Even the unpaid volunteers and at times employees are held to unattainable, harsh or uncompassionate expectations.

*We feel that discrimination has been practiced against members of the community we are committed to promoting. People who have supported the One World from its onset and people who have given of their time and love in an reciprocated manner.

*We feel attempts made by the board, without consultation of the staff, to stop the downward progression of the restaurant have back-fired and in fact acted as a catalyst to its demise.

*We feel the recent changes implemented have been made based upon purely financial reasoning at the expense of the core principles of the vision to which the current staff is dedicated. We feel the reversal of such priorities is something we cannot support.

Polly said...

Dispute shakes up One World cafe

Don Merrill said...

Note that the poster is anonmyous. Since the former staff has quit, food quality has risen, publicity resulting from the positive change in atmosphere has increased, and stories from customers, utility workers, and delivery people have come to the board about the level of questionable, ... function by some members of the previous staff. The principles of personal responsibility, the board painfully learned, must also apply to the staff, and we were guilty for not insuring they did because we were also inexperienced. Fortunately, the kitchen has made a turn around, corrected sabotage, turned over discovered contraband, and is moving forward. We thank all past and present members of One World Everybody Eats for their priceless contributions to our progress and service to the Salt Lake community.

Lisa McGlaun said...


Thank you for updating me on the situation. I don't usually post anonymous comments but I felt it was important in this case to present a full story. I'm glad you are commenting to allow a balanced view.

I hope all is well with One World Cafe. I think the concept is revolutionary and is exactly how we should operate when it comes to food service.