Adam Bronson, a Portola local and experienced chef, is joining forces with local Julie Rhoades at the Sierraville Philosophy Café to bring a whole new plate to the table on Wednesday, March 8, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The pair is starting up a “Pay what you can” restaurant serving a healthy, locally grown and sourced menu, where “everybody eats, regardless of means to pay,” according to Bronson. The dynamic duo had a trial run with the concept when they co-founded a similar pop-up style restaurant at the Reno Buddhist Center’s Moon Rabbit Café, which took off and showed them that the concept was not only viable, but an asset to the community.
“This is a major endeavor to help build a stronger community where neighbors eat together with dignity,” Bronson said. “We have such a great network of people that are farmers and chefs, and we want to fully utilize the bounty of our area in a farm-to-fork style.”
POTLUCK, or “People Organized Through Love, Understanding, Community, and Kitchen,” has applied for 501-c3 nonprofit status, but Sierra Hot Springs is acting as the current fiscal sponsor for the endeavor in the interim.
“We are very blessed to have a jumping-off point here at the Philosophy Café, in large part thanks to hot springs manager Kaisa MacDonald,” Bronson said. “At some point in the future, once things are a bit further established, we have big plans to bring the POTLUCK location closer to Portola, especially because there are plans in the works to utilize POTLUCK as a community platform in a bigger way.”
Bronson and Rhoades would like to open the way for locals to learn a trade in the kitchen at POTLUCK, creating more ability for some to enter the workforce.
“No experience is necessary,” Bronson added. “We just want to start reaching out to local foodies and amateur chefs that want to take their passion for food into the work world, and include those people in the kitchen at POTLUCK.”
POTLUCK is also reaching out to local schools, such as Long Valley Charter School, to introduce the concept of hands-on learning in a restaurant environment.
“Eventually, we would like to be a hub for collaboration among local ‘culinarians’ where every dish is meant to be shared with dignity,” Bronson stated.
Looking ahead to the grand opening event, which will be a fundraiser to go toward future monthly dinners, Bronson is excited about the menu and chef volunteers already on board.
“We’re going to have a full menu, just like a ‘regular’ restaurant, with sponsored dishes from such donors as Chalet View and the Fork & Horn. Sean Conry of Longboards is sponsoring two menu items for the opening, and I’m looking to the community for other locals that may want to support the endeavor as well. We want this to be a chef-driven eatery with locally sourced food — this isn’t a soup kitchen. There will be choice, along with family style seating and full table service, and we hope to provide a real sense of hospitality to attendees. Eating out can really be considered a luxury entertainment these days, and we would like to extend that entertainment to those that perhaps aren’t always able to afford the experience with their family,” said Bronson.
Rhoades and Bronson are putting out an invitation to the communities in Plumas and Sierra counties to join in as they begin this exciting endeavor, and the ways to participate are many.
“Not only would we love to see you as a diner, but we would also love for amateur chefs to jump in, and we are also accepting donations of needed items, monetary contributions, and also volunteer hands for hosting, table service and more.”
For information on how to help and what the current needs are, contact Julie Rhoades at [email protected] or by phone at 775-378-7816.
POTLUCK Vision Statement
POTLUCK. is a community-building endeavor. It is a restaurant, where everyone is welcome, regardless of ability to pay, serving locally sourced and grown meals prepared by award-winning chefs in a pay-what-you-can setting that allows everyone to dine with dignity.
It is also an educational program, providing those wishing to re-enter the workforce opportunities to learn soft skills as well as training the hospitality industry.
POTLUCK is a growing program, working with our neighbors to raise our own food, with a focus on self-reliance and sustainability. At POTLUCK, everyone brings something to the table.