He's not the first musician to go from the stage into the kitchen, but old-time rocker Jon Bon Jovi swears that his desire to open a restaurant in his native New Jersey wasn't driven by culinary aspirations, but magnanimous ones.
“I'm not someone who's interested in food or good at preparing meals,” says Mr Jovi. “I'm more of a dishwasher. I love to wash dishes.” A comedian, too, apparently.
At Soul Kitchen, there are no prices on the menu. When you order the Garden State Gumbo or the BBQ grilled salmon, reports the Wall Street Journal, you simply pay what you want -- you pay what you can. A just dessert in these mean times.
While the reno'ed 1,100-square-foot former auto-body shop is sure to welcome its doors to celebrity traffic following its recent opening, let's hope it survives beyond the early hype.
"At a time when 1 in 5 households are living at or below the poverty level, and at a time when 1 out of 6 Americans are food insecure, this is a restaurant whose time has come," says Bon Jovi. "This is a place based on and built on community – by and for the community.”
If Bon Jovi is better behind the microphone than he is at the stove, he's in safe hands. His personal chef, Zeet Peabody, is standing in, while food has (for the time being) been donated by Whole Foods. Patrons can accrue meals via volunteered hours at the restaurant, or they can donate the cost of the meal to help sustain the JBJ Soul Foundation.
The idea of a charity restaurant is not a new one. Bon Jovi was reportedly inspired by successful pay-what-you can eateries in Denver and Salt Lake City.
Do you think this concept would fly north of the border? Celine, spare a Nickel...