CHEAP EATS: Healthy World Café
UPDATE, Feb. 26, 2016: The Healthy World Cafe has closed.
Update: The Healthy World Café has moved to 24 S. George St., York.
Cash or credit isn't required. Full bellies are.
Healthy World Café operates under a pay-what-you-can model, which means those who can't pay the suggested price can offer something else as payment.
"People can help spread the word, play the piano, help us put up the signs, clean up," Patrick Walker said.
The café is part of the One World Everybody Eats Foundation, which strives to make healthy food available to everyone. Walker, Healthy World's vice chair, said a York chapter started as an idea between eight people. Now, around 100 people are on the email list.
About 20 percent of patrons give less than the suggested prices (and/or offer giving back in another way) and the rest pay more or equal to the suggested price.
"We try to make it so that a full plate of food is $7," Sean Arnold said.
Arnold, chair of the board, plans the monthly menu which usually includes soup options, quiche, salad bar and dessert. Entrees change, but often include a sandwich option. It's served buffet-style in a room of the First Moravian Church in York.
Local, fresh food is their bread and butter.
"During the summertime, when York, Lancaster, Adams County is in full bloom with fresh produce, most of our menu could be anywhere from 90 to 99 percent local food," Arnold said.
Enough food is made each month to feed about 100 people. Any leftovers are donated to charities.
"Everyone should have access to local, healthy food," Walker said.
I attended April's meal and got an open-faced sandwich, side and cookies for a suggested price of less than $8.
The cardamom applesauce had a punchy cinnamon spice that made its appeal stronger than a natural sauce. And I learned why the cookies are so popular - their buttery, cakey-sweet taste will have you craving the dried fruit and oatmeal cookies over chocolate chips.
The Asian-inspired sandwich (pulled beef) was flavorful, fresh and topped with a veggie coleslaw. There are tables set up, but I was among the majority that took my food to go.
This month, expect to see asparagus on the menu alongside other seasonal foods.
In the future, Walker said Healthy World is planning to open a full-service café in York, but it might take up to five years to have the resources to do so.
Cheap Eats profiles local restaurants, aiming to please our palates and our wallets. Reach Ashley May at 717-771-2053, firstname.lastname@example.org, @AshleyMayTweets.
Healthy World Cafe
LOCATION: 24 S. George St., York
ASHLEY'S PICK: Dried fruit and oatmeal cookies, Cardamom applesauce, oriental sandwich with Asian-inspired coleslaw (pulled beef), suggested total was $7.50
PRICE RANGE: Donation suggested
ACCEPTS: Cash and credit
KID'S MENU: No