Coming Soon: WNY’s First Pay-As-You-Can Community Cafe

Food & Drink, Food & Drink News


Written by Step Out Staff

Published on May 20, 2020

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Big Big Table Community Café, WNY’s first pay-as-you-can community cafe is preparing to open their doors on Hudson Street in Buffalo.

Big Big Table will be a pay-as-you can lunchtime restaurant, focused on addressing hunger and building community.

Their mission is to delicious, nutritious lunches, regardless of ability to pay. Their mantra is: “Everybody eats. Everybody gives. Everybody matters.”


The number one goal of Big Big Table is to feed everyone who walks through the door. In a press release, Big Big Table explains the restaurant is “a dignified response to hunger in our community”.

“With pay-as-you-can pricing and a significant volunteer component in day-to-day operations, everyone is given a chance to earn what they need by giving what they can. Menu items will have a suggested donation amount rather than a set price, encouraging non-financial contributions and paying it forward. Big Big Table will help to reduce the stigma of need, promote healthy and local eating, build community in our diverse city, and provide workforce development through volunteer opportunities.”

Big Big Table will bring an already developed sustainable social enterprise model to Western New York.

“We are a member of One World Everybody Eats, a network of 60+ organizations around the world utilizing this Community Café model to feed their neighbors. Academics and the restaurant industry are beginning to cite community cafés as one of the newest advances toward addressing food inequities and trends in food-system optimization. Once we open, Big Big Table will be able to run sustainably using ongoing food sales, volunteer labor, and donations. Big Big Table will feed our community, nourishing body and soul while bringing people together.”


Founder and Co-Chef, Mandy Bailey, is the driving force behind Big Big Table with over ten years of culinary experience working in restaurants, running her own catering business, and working in large-scale commercial kitchen production. Read all about Mandy’s story and what brought her to Buffalo and led her down the community cafe path here.

Just as the organization was preparing to open at 272 Hudson St., Buffalo, the pandemic halted all efforts. In response to the need to secure commercial kitchen equipment in preparation for opening (when the time comes), Big Big Table recently launched a 30-day crowdfunding campaign to raise funds.


They are now looking for champions, corporate partners, and individual donors—to help make this campaign a success. They as that you please give what you can and help spread the word about this fundraiser.

For ongoing updates visit and social media (Facebook / Instagram). To donate to the campaign, click here!

Written by <a href="" target="_self">Step Out Staff</a>

Written by Step Out Staff

A group of Step Out Buffalo team members worked together to create this post from research and writing to editing and imagery. Thanks for reading!
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