Homestead Cafe opening Sunday, March 21st!

We are thrilled to announce the “soft” opening of our Homestead Cafe, right inside the Homestead Market THIS Sunday, March 21st! We are still working on permitting from the county for the stove, but there is A LOT we can do right now with our licensed commercial kitchen – so we’re putting it to work NOW to bring fresh, healthy, and affordable food to our community.

Why a cafe?

There are two main reasons why opening a cafe is part of our long-term vision as a nonprofit:

  1. FEED the COMMUNITY. Gilpin County is no longer a food desert, thanks to the Homestead Market opening in the heart of the county in January 2020. Now, locals have access to fresh, healthy and affordable food through shopping in person, calling in for curbside, or emailing for delivery. The next step is to offer freshly prepared, simple beverages, snacks, and (eventually) hot meals to local folks. We want to inspire more people to eat healthy food with our unique flavors and high altitude recipes. We want to give folks a break from cooking all the time, and to offer a healthy and fresh option in the community. And, we want to make healthy eating 100% affordable with our pay-what-you-can model, so NOBODY GOES HUNGRY in Gilpin County.
  2. ZERO WASTE. Another goal at the Homestead is ZERO WASTE. While we currently compost all organic material, turning wilted greens and sprouting potatoes into nutrient dense soil, the cafe will help us turn more of our lovely produce into delicious, nutrient dense meals! The Market recoups its investment, reduces its losses and waste, and feeds the community. It’s a win-win-win!

Wait, did you say “pay-what-you-can” cafe? How does that work?

The pay-what-you-can cafe business model started in Salt Lake City, Utah, when I was an undergraduate there at the University of Utah. It was called “One World, Everybody Eats” and it served mostly vegan or vegetarian fare like fresh tossed salads, rice pilaf, hot soup, and crusty bread seven days a week. With my plate in hand I would sit down at the table with my friends and enjoy a healthy nourishing lunch, and then drop a few dollars into the “donation” box.

As a starving college student, One World literally saved my bacon. With hardly any income to spare, sometimes I donated a few dollars, and sometimes I only offered my gratitude. Then I got a real job teaching French at a small charter school, and could afford to donate $10-$15 for a good, hot meal. Folks who don’t have money, but do have some time, volunteer in the kitchen cooking and cleaning.

Volunteer cooks needed! 2 hrs/wk. Email

Pay-It-Forward is a core value of the Pay-What-You-Can business model.

What will you serve?

The Homestead Cafe will focus on healthy, simple, and plant-based appetizers (to start) like chips and dips, salads, sandwiches, and snack plates. Our revolving menu will feature vegan and gluten free options, and will always be organic. The menu will change daily based on available ingredients and the inspiration of our volunteer cooks.

What about COVID-SAFE dining?

The cafe will start out as TAKE OUT ONLY. As the snow melts and the weather warms up folks are encouraged to take their plates to our outside dining area and enjoy the clean mountain breeze with their delicious meal.

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