MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Have you ever eaten at a restaurant where everything they serve is free?
Regardless of your answer, Hope Cafe is such a place where you can have brunch and dinner five days a week absolutely free. It opened in May and is operated by the Salvation Army of Marion, Monongalia and Preston counties. Lt. Nicole Greenland, the head cook, said the mission is to feed anyone who is hungry.
“If you are hungry, it doesn’t matter,” Greenland said. “We do not ask for ID. We do not ask for any income. You just come and we serve you to the best of our ability. You don’t have to be homeless or you don’t have to have $1 million. All we want to do is if you’re hungry, just show up and we’ll feed you.”
They will feed you something special that Greenland guarantees you’ll like.
On Wednesday for example, brunch was a creamy tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich. And then dinners were served lasagna, garlic bread, and a garden salad.
On top of that, there are always fruits, cereal, and something warm to drink.
“There’s a saying that we in Jamaica that says that if the food tastes good, that means the cook put their foot in it,” Greenland said jokingly. “Not necessarily, we don’t put our foot in the food. What that means is that we make special preparation to prepare the food and to cook the food so that when it is served, it smells good. It looks good and it tastes good as well.”
Greenland said Hope Cafe likes to pair their food offerings with the seasons, as they did with grilled cheese and tomato soup on a cold fall day.
But mainly, she said, there is a set menu for the whole week and it relies on the supermarket Aldi, which gives the restaurant “a lot of donations”.
“Whatever comes in on Monday or Thursday, we decide what will serve for the next week,” Greenland said.
The item on the menu for the day at Hope Cafe may change, but Greenland said everything she and her team makes is made with “love”.
The cook said brunch, which is a new dining option at Hope Cafe is served Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Dinner is also Monday-Friday from 3 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
“And every other Sunday, we do dinner here at the Hope Cafe from six o’clock,” Greenland said. “And we don’t only do the dinner, we also have karaoke night now. We do games and stuff, it’s just all love. We just want to just pour the love into the foodservice and have good fun and fellowship.”
You can find Hope Cafe in Morgantown, the address is 20 Scott Ave.
“We are right on the hill of Hazel’s House of Hope,” Greenland said. “And when you come on the property we are on the right side. You’ll see our Salvation Army sign and you’ll see the nice walkway coming up to Hope Café.”
If you admire or feel inspired by all the work the Salvation Army of Marion, Monongalia and Preston counties is doing, then there is a way to help, Greenland said.
“Christmas is here and we would like for those who are out and about — when you hear the bell or when you see the angels on the tree, just remember to continue to support the mission of the Salvation Army and help us to let hope March on,” Greenland said.