About 20 years ago, a local Seattle chef/entrepreneur embarked on a journey to give back to the community. He started Common Meals, an organization to provide meals to disadvantaged individuals in the city. 4 years later, this community service program transformed into Farestart – a program designed not only to feed these individuals but also enable them to help themselves. Today, Farestart is a 16 week job training program for the food services industry. The students are disadvantaged individuals, many who are homeless. By offering both hands-on and classroom training, the program provides opportunities that may not be readily available to these students.
In 2007, Farestart Restaurant opened it’s doors. Not only is it a restaurant, but also a training facility for its students. All of the proceeds from the restaurant go directly back into the training program. Patrons can show their support by dining with the restaurant Monday to Friday 11am – 2pm or on Thursday evenings 6pm – 8pm, when they host special chef nights.
I had the pleasure to enjoy a wonderful lunch here on a Monday afternoon. The restaurant is housed in a corner building with floor to ceiling windows on 2 sides of the restaurant. Coupled with the high ceilings, the restaurant is inundated with natural light. In addition to regular tables, there is one enormous community table in the centre of the restaurant. Towards the back of the restaurant, the glass wall window reveals the entire kitchen – a true glimpse into the whole operation.
Upon our arrival we were greeted warmly by the hostess. After being seated out server came by to run through the specials of the day. In anticipation for my visit, I had already perused their menu online and knew that I would have difficulty in choosing from the delectable items listed. This became more of a feat after hearing the specials. But alas, I had to go with the signature “field roast” sandwich – can’t go wrong with anything “signature”. Food was professionally presented and served. And most importantly, delicious!
The service was top notch. Both genuine and gracious, our server was readily available and offered excellent suggestions.Â Being the observant person that I am, I am always aware of my surroundings and noted that the service was consistent throughout the restaurant.
An amazing concept, a well-run operation, and wonderful food. With a stomach warm with food, I couldn’t help but feel a warming in my heart. A truly unique experience for the good customer!
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