Bon Jovi is a musical icon who is well known across generations. What many many not know is that the Grammy winner spends as much time on his musical work as he does on his philanthropy work. In 2011, the musician used his wealth to open a restaurant with a unique concept: Those who can’t afford the food are given it for free, while others who can pay are encouraged to give $20.
With massive success with his first restaurant in the Red Bank area, New Jersey, Bon Jovi opened another location in 2016 near Toms River, one of the areas destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.
There are no prices on the JBJ Soul Kitchen menu, and the restaurant wants to feed those who cannot afford the food without any sense of shame.
Sadly, the homeless, in large part, are looked down upon for their hardships. Bon Jovi is looking to break this negative stigma and simply bring people together under one roof to share a meal.
With that in mind, Bon Jovi has asked those who can pay for their meals to pay at least $20, so others who are down on their luck can eat, too. Those who are less fortunate are given free meals, but they are also encouraged to volunteer at the restaurant to help “repay” the cost of the food.
This unique system has become a smash hit amongst locals. The two locations have already served more than 105,000 meals, with 54% of that paid forward, according to their website. The seating is also first-come-first-serve, with those who are less fortunate being given priority.
The food is as good as the message. All of the food is organically made in the restaurant’s garden. When the government shutdown earlier this year in January, JBJ Soul Kitchen offered free meals to the people and families affected by it, Bored Panda reported.
When asked why he decided to create these restaurants, Bon Jovi replied: “Most Americans live two paychecks away from problems, and I thought this is something we can do,” the artist explained, “… and most importantly I didn’t need the scientists to find the cure.”