Provision Community Restaurant opening at Lake & Harriet

A new mural
A new mural inspired by community feedback at Open Streets Lyndale adorns the building of Provision Community Restaurant at Lake & Harriet. Submitted photo

The first pay-what-you-can community cafe in Minneapolis will open its doors Sept. 25 in LynLake.

Provision Community Restaurant, a nonprofit restaurant that aims to fight food insecurity and increase community connections, is putting the finishing touches on its dining room at Lake & Harriet.

It will be Minneapolis’ first community cafe, where patrons pay only what they can for a meal, even if it’s nothing, or contribute by volunteering.

Provision Community Restaurant
Provision Community Restaurant will open its doors at 2940 Harriet Ave. S. on
Sept. 25. The restaurant shares the building with SK Coffee and multiple vendors who use its commercial kitchen.
Photos by Andrew Hazzard

Provision plans to offer set meals seven times per week. From Wednesday through Friday it will offer a 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. dinner, and on Saturday it will serve a 10 a.m. brunch.

The plan is to serve 30 people each meal, according to founder Anna Wienke. The restaurant will have four tables — all donated — where guests will be served family style. Nearly all Provision’s food will be donated. Most of the waiters and kitchen staff will be volunteers.

Expecting to receive lots of starches, fruits and vegetables, the cafe is leaning toward a vegetable-heavy menu. Through the fall, the staff is preserving gallons of stocks and sauces to last them through the winter.

Provision Community Restaurant
Provision Community Restaurant will be the first pay-what-you-can eatery in Minneapolis. They aim to bring together residents of all backgrounds and reduce food insecurity in the area.

Two kitchen workers are staff employees, including Kenny Beck. Beck got involved with Provision when Wienke gave him a lift while his car was in the shop. He started as the nonprofit’s treasurer but has since left the board to prepare for the task of cooking for 60 people a night with a constantly changing and unpredictable batch of ingredients. Beck has always loved cooking and sharing food with people, though most of his restaurant experience is in the front of the house. Volunteer cooks will assist him with prep work and in meal assembly.

“The whole point is bringing people together and having some good food along the way,” Beck said.

Each month, Provision will host a fundraising dinner to help raise money and spread the word about their efforts. They will host a fall fundraiser on Oct. 12. Wienke is hoping to attract pop-up chef events on Saturday and Sunday nights.

Provision Community Restaurant
2940 Harriet Ave. S.