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One Year In: Dorothy’s Kitchen Table Is Still DFW’s Only Pay-What-You-Can Restaurant

Head to Little D to scope out this community-focused hidden gem

Everyone at Dorothy's Kitchen Table is perpetually happy
Everyone at Dorothy's Kitchen Table is perpetually happy
Sara Button/EDFW

Approaching one year of serving the community, Dorothy’s Kitchen Table is Denton (and DFW’s) first pay-what-you-can restaurant. Founded on a "share what you can" philosophy, this community-driven restaurant has worked tirelessly over the last year to connect local farms to Denton’s tables and improve food access to the community in a cooperatively owned environment.

Now, they’re getting ready to grow. The co-op restaurant just began farming on a piece of land at Cardo’s Farm Project in Denton. Dorothy’s Garden is just getting started, and they hope to see a harvest within the next couple of months, assuming that weather cooperates.

In the temporary absence of their garden, local farmers bring in their left over, bruised, or "reject" veggies to share. According to Rachel Weaver, sourcing and garden coordinator for Dorothy’s, the restaurant has received donations from a number of local farmers, including Earthwise Produce, Rooted Heart, Clear Creek Farm, Cooper Creek Farm, and more.

Those that don’t have produce to offer can still give their time or talents. Some folks come in to wash dishes for a couple hours or serve food and clean up. Others play piano or sing. Volunteer waitress Claire says that coming to work "is an escape" for her and other employees.

The menu, prepared by Chef Allyson, changes depending on what’s available. Last week, kale, lettuce, and sugar snap peas combined with marinated beets and radish to create a ridiculously fresh and local spring salad. Lentil dal served over rice and paired with falafel is a more hearty option, just spicy enough to please the palate.

Overall, Dorothy’s seeks to prepare wholesome food that engages the community, and to build healthy relationships with those around them. Dorothy’s Kitchen Table is a safe place where anyone is welcome, no matter what may or may not be in your pocket. Located on the wall closest to the piano is the Sharing Calendar, where anyone can come in to sign up for a serving, cooking, or cleaning shift during the restaurant's open times.

If you wish to give back monetarily while there, bring cash or check as Dorothy’s does not swipe cards. However, you can send funds via the PayPal link listed on their site if you prefer. Dorothy’s Kitchen Table is open for breakfast on Tuesday and Thursday from 7 am - 10:30 am, and for dinner on Friday & Saturday from 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm. Located at 511 Robertson Street in Denton, TX.

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