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Carolyn Brown (far right) along with several volunteers work Tuesday afternoon to prepare Tuesday’s dinner.

The Kitchen Table in nationwide contest for title of Community Cafe of the Year

ROCHELLE – Rochelle’s very own pay-what-you-can style café, The Kitchen Table, is participating in a nationwide competition to be recognized as the Community Café of The Year, and they appreciate all the votes they can get.
The contest is being held by One World Everybody Eats, a non-profit organization whose main goal is to increase food security and build community through the pay-what-you-can nonprofit restaurant model. One World Everybody Eats holds an annual summit each year, offers mentorship for new cafes opening if they need it and supports nearly 50 independent cafes and start-up cafes throughout the country including The Kitchen Table in Rochelle.
The competition itself is between 35 pay-what-you-can cafes throughout the country, but that number is constantly changing due to organizations signing up and dropping out of the competition. The winner is based on the number of votes that each of the organization receives through the website.
While this is technically a competition, everyone involved is fighting for the same cause.
“I don’t really think that it is a competition, but more of a nice healthy challenge. You don’t really want to say that one is better than the other because we are all good in our own ways and we all have basically the same mission,” explained Carolyn Brown, founder of The Kitchen Table.
Each of the cafes are based off the same pay-what-you-can model, but have their own personal touches.
While participating in this competition will bring awareness to The Kitchen Table, they are also hoping that it will help people understand that The Kitchen Table serves anyone who comes through the door looking for a meal, no matter what walk of life they come from.
“We are here for everybody; some people think that we are just for homeless people and that is not true. We are here for everybody,” explained Brown. “We offer the same to everybody, a place where anyone can afford to eat a meal out.”
The Kitchen Table serves people from surrounding communities as well as their home community of Rochelle.

To vote for The Kitchen Table and help them on their way toward being recognized as the Community Café of The Year, go to, select The Kitchen Table and provide a first and last name and a valid email address. Currently, the Kitchen Table is in first place by approximately 100 votes, but that number is continuously fluctuating.
Brown says that winning the competition and earning the recognition of Community Café of The Year would help validate all of the hard work and time that everyone involved has put in.
“Earning the Community Café of The Year title, to me, is huge, it validates what we do,” explained Brown. “We are all volunteers here and there are many that dedicate hours out of their day to make sure that everything gets done and the doors get opened on time.”
The Kitchen Table serves dinner on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Brunch is also served the first Sunday of each month. For more information about The Kitchen Table visit or find them on Facebook at The monthly dinner menu is also posted on the website and Facebook page.


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