Saturday, April 24, 2021

Big Big Table plans imminent opening

 By Hannah Turnbull

            If you ask Mandy Bailey who will be welcome at Big Big Table, her answer is simple.

            “Everybody with a capital ‘E’” she said.

            Bailey is the co-founder and head chef of Big Big Table, a budding community café located at 272 Hudson St. The café is in its final stages of development and plans to open its doors for business soon.

Big Big Table, 272 Hudson St.

            Big Big Table will serve as a pay-as-you-can lunchtime restaurant open to all.  Its mission is to feed delicious and nutritious food to everybody, regardless of ability to pay.

People can pay full or partial price for their meal, based on what they are able to. Big Big Table provides other ways of payments for those unable to make a monetary contribution, such as helping out at the café by clearing tables or assisting in the kitchen.  

Hunger and food insecurity is a growing problem across the nation. Bailey hopes Big Big Table can bring a sense of relief to the West Side while also providing a sense of community.

“We just want to feed everybody. Everyone will be welcome here,” Bailey said.

Big Big Table was set to open in the spring of this year, but production was halted last year due to the pandemic. In the past few months, the work has resumed thanks to volunteers and assistance from the global organization, One WorldEverybody Eats.

Big Big Table is a member of One World Everybody Eats, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing food security across the world. One World Everybody Eats developed the pay-what-you-can model that Big Big Table has adopted.

One World Everybody Eats supports nearly 50 independent that tackle food insecurity and build community in their areas. The organization provides the resources and networking for these community cafés to open.

“We provide shared knowledge that allows these cafés and communities to open quicker” Julie Williams, board president of One World Everybody Eats said.

Williams believes that each café the organization opens n is as unique as the community it serves. And Bailey sees the West Side as quite a unique place.

“It’s a super diverse area. We’re at the intersection of anyone and everyone,” Bailey said.

While Big Big Table prepares to open, Bailey has organized an event to promote the first community café in the city. May the Fork Be With You will be  a sidewalk event that will be located outside of the restaurant on May 14. Information about the café and its opening will be discussed, giving the community a chance to meet the volunteers.

On March 30, the team at Big Big Table installed their outdoor railing, showing progress on the final stages of development.

“We are going to open as soon as possible,” Bailey said.

She has a clear vision for what the opening of Big Big Table will look like.

“It will be totally inclusive, and everyone will be having a great time,” Bailey said. 

Updates will be posted on Big Big Table's social media