Hickory eatery lets diners 'pay what they can'

Cafe lets customers pay what they can

HICKORY, NC (WBTV) - It's almost easy to miss the sign on the sidewalk outside the Taste Full Beans coffee shop. It's easy to miss unless you're hungry.

The sign out in front reads "Everyone eats."

"If you're hungry, we'd like to feed you, here's what we have," owner Julie Owens said.

Julie and her husband Scott bought the downtown Hickory  restaurant several years ago, but they just recently started the Everyone Eats program. It's just as the sign says, pay what you can, but you will get something to eat.

"I think it was mostly Julie's idea," Scott said, "But we just wanted to make it so that they didn't have to feel uncomfortable asking. So they knew as soon as they came in the door it was okay to ask."

Three different menu items are available: oatmeal, soup or a sandwich.

As soon as other patrons heard about the effort, they started donating their own money to help.

"We want the shop to be a meeting ground. We want people from all walks of life to be comfortable here, to have the opportunity to meet each other," Scott said.

So far, the response from the public has been overwhelming. It's a small gesture in a world with a lot of hunger. But for Scott and Julie, it's doing what they can to make a difference.

"I have no idea if it's changing people's lives," Julie said. "But they're not hungry, so I hope it's kind of filling in that gap."

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