At this restaurant, you can eat lunch and pay whatever you want. It’s coming to Arlington

·2 min read

One of Texas’ top 100 “diners’ favorite” restaurants is adding an Arlington location.

This is a very special restaurant where we pay for breakfast or lunch — plus enough extra so someone else hungry can eat.

Taste Community Restaurant, in its fourth year at 1200 S. Main St. in Fort Worth, is launching a $1 million-plus capital campaign to add a second location in what is now a vacant Arlington city government warehouse at 200 N. Cooper St.

Taste is a charity restaurant. Instead of paying a set tab, diners donate from the heart, hopefully enough to cover their meal and also meals for those in need.

The ticket is blank, and you fill in the price you pay at Taste Community Restaurant.
The ticket is blank, and you fill in the price you pay at Taste Community Restaurant.

Call it paying it forward, or paying what you can.

Right now, please help Taste feed as many people as possible.

The restaurant has served more than 125,000 meals and won enough praise to make Yelp.com commenters’ 100 highest-rated in Texas.

“We’re back where we were before COVID as far as business growth,” said Taste’s founding chef and executive, Jeff Williams of Fort Worth.

Chef Jeff Williams prepares a dish at the Taste Project Community Restaurant.
Chef Jeff Williams prepares a dish at the Taste Project Community Restaurant.

But food costs more now. And some donors can’t give as much.

“We still have just as many people who come and dine and pay it forward,” he said. But the costs are greater, and so is the need.

Taste serves a simple weekday breakfast menu and a nicer lunch and weekend brunch menu.

The top seller remains the double cheeseburger, Williams said, simply because, “People come in, look down at the menu and say, ‘Burger.’ “

But the current weekday lunch menu also includes soups, sandwiches and platters with grilled chicken, pork tenderloin or pasta.

Plans for the Taste Community Restaurant in Arlington.
Plans for the Taste Community Restaurant in Arlington.

Weekday breakfast features a ham-and-eggs platter, huevos rancheros, peach-almond wheat pancakes or an eggs-and-peppers North African shakshouka.

From 10 a.m. weekends, brunch includes the soups, salads, sandwiches and dishes such as peach-almond croissant “French toast,” plus peach-blueberry cobbler.

The idea of an Arlington location began when Williams spoke at a UT Arlington TEDx Talk, he said, and both the city and the university seemed to offer breakfast-and-lunch crowds with a nearby population in need.

Arlington was home to a commercial pay-as-you-can restaurant, Potager, from 2009 to 2015. Patrons paid $15-$20 back then, so Taste Project might draw better donations.

Guests eat at Taste Project on Wednesday, July 20, 2021, in Fort Worth. Taste Project is a nonprofit created to address food insecurity. The restaurant provides healthy food without a price tag, asking costumers to pay what they can afford.
Guests eat at Taste Project on Wednesday, July 20, 2021, in Fort Worth. Taste Project is a nonprofit created to address food insecurity. The restaurant provides healthy food without a price tag, asking costumers to pay what they can afford.

Besides central-city residents, some recipients will include university students, Williams said. They might have enough money for school, but some can’t afford meals, he said.

The location is a former city warehouse between Division and Abram streets, behind a Jack in the Box at Division. It was recently used as a temporary library.

The news was first reported by KERA/90.1 FM at keranews.org; tasteproject.org/comeeat.