The Comfort Cafe has been a dream more than 20 years in the making, and today, that dream became a reality when the restaurant opened for lunch at 3945 Tennyson Street on a tree-lined stretch of sidewalk in Berkeley Park that includes Big Hoss Bar-B-Q, Kyle's Kitchen and Brasserie Felix.
"We've got all the inspections, all the permits, all the licenses, all the everything," says the restaurant's visionary Jan Bezuidenhout, who encountered some minor delays before today's opening. Still, she says, "The cart is barreling down the highway."
The pay-what-you-want restaurant, a former art gallery, is built on the model of Denver's SAME Cafe, and will accept meal donations based on customers' ability. The menu will feature recipes that Bezuidenhout, the former CEO of Namaste Hospice, has collected over the last two decades from hospice patients.
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The daily-changing menu will feature everything from gazpacho, tortilla soup, a bean salad and a potato salad to quesadillas, corn bread, chicken curry stew, herb tomato focaccia and assorted desserts, including chocolate chip cookies.
As she goes down the restaurant's list of items it hopes to feature, she tells snippets of stories that go along with them. "Every single one of these is a recipe I've collected over the last 20 years," she says. She plans to carry on the tradition by asking diners to contribute their own treasured family recipes.
Bezuidenhout will share cooking duties with Sandy Corlett and Barb McGhee, and like SAME Cafe, Comfort Cafe's diners are invited to help out in the kitchen if they're unable to pay (or if they merely want to).
The Comfort Cafe will be open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m and Saturdays and Sundays for brunch from 9 a.m to 1 p.m. For more information, call 303-728-9251.