Soul Kitchen

Sayreville War Memorial High School has had some pretty talented guys graduate from the little Washington Road location across from what used to be the “claypits.” We would drift off and stare out those windows when we’d had enough Millard Fillmore and quadratic equations. Yes, I was among the faithful but less than famous of my compadres at one time. Sebastian Bach from “Skid Row” sat there and probably scribbled song lyrics on his English 202 notebook cover. Greg Evigan, the still good-looking kid from Oak Tree Village drove to band gigs in his dad’s car before he drove an 18-wheeler with a chimp on “B J and the Bear” and “My Two Dads” was simply inconceivable when you were fifteen. But the one student who really went to the top of the class was one friendly and ambitious named John Bonjovi, or as we now know him, Jon Bon Jovi. He was always gracious and generous. I know this because one summer I was his camp counselor. I am a few years older than Jon and when I was working a summer job for the Parks Department, he was one of my dozen or so charges at President Park. He’d make key rings and give them to another kid. Always shared the racquets and balls, or split his sandwich with someone else… a nice kid who grew up to be one of the most philanthropic artists in the nation. A singer/ songwriter rock star, actor, sports team owner who donates both his time and money to many causes that benefit the residents of this state, his state (his Soul Foundation builds hundreds of homes for low-income families), has now added another venture that is at its heart and soul, a fantastic and groundbreaking concept.

Jon has opened a new restaurant in Red Bank called “Soul Kitchen” with the slogan “Hope is Delicious.” The concept: To provide gourmet quality meals to the hungry while enabling them to volunteer on community projects in return. An average restaurant goer can leave a $10 donation in the envelope on the table, or leave more to be be used for patrons that cannot pay. In exchange for a meal, you can wash dishes, bus or wait tables, or be a sous chef. Many choose to work for the myriad of community projects that the staff set up for them. It is a win-win in every way.

And FYI, this is no soup kitchen. There is linen and silverware on the tables and the menu includes items like grilled salmon with mashed sweet potatoes and rainbow beet salad. This is an experience that will be remembered long after the meal is digested. This is a restaurant that has more to do with feeding an appetite. It feeds the community and for those of us who will always “Keep the Faith,” it feeds the soul.

Soul Kitchen
Red Bank

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