On a flight from Austin, TX to Denver, CO, Brad and Libby Birky plotted out the foundation of SAME Café on the back of a cocktail napkin and on a page from the in-flight magazine. Both had devoted innumerable hours to soup kitchens and food banks, wanting to do their part in the fight against hunger.
At the time, Libby was teaching and Brad was working at a computer company in addition to taking culinary classes. They wanted to combine all of their experiences into a place that offered amazing food, a commitment to service, and a place to broaden one’s view of the world. SAME Café was born and continues to grow and expand.
The first day open was October 20, 2006. That was also the day that Libby zapped herself silly plugging in a fridge with wet hands. The two have learned a lot since that opening day.
They were the second restaurant like this that they knew of in the country. The original restaurant is One World Café in Salt Lake City, UT. The founder of that restaurant, Denise Cerreta, was so gracious in helping Brad and Libby open a slightly different version of her pay-what-you-can café. Since then, there have been many other restaurants based on similar models popping up all over the country.
Two years after opening, SAME Café expanded to the retail space directly next door and a hole was cut in the wall. They can now accommodate about 50 seats for lunch.
In 2012, RFMA (Restaurant Facility Management Association) awarded SAME Café with an incredible kitchen remodel.
Today, SAME is run by Brad Reubendale acting as Executive Director and Letisha Steele as Chef and Operation Manager.
SAME continues to flourish and will be expanding in March 2019 with the launch of the SAME Food Truck at the annual So All May Eat Gala.