Do you remember hearing about Gather55, Connecticut’s first and only pay-what-you-can eatery opening this past summer?
Gather55 opened in Hartford in July. It operates completely with a goal of “harnessing the power of delicious food to connect diverse communities,” according to its website www.gather55.com.
Whether or not guests are able to pay, any and all folks are invited to come enjoy a nutritious, high-quality meal inside the chic, artsy eatery. Run by the nonprofit organization Hands On Hartford, Gather55 dedicates each day to serving their community, empowering volunteers and guests, and bridging the hunger inequality gap.
Gather 55 features two menus: The first operates on a “pay-what-you-can” basis, and the second menu is “for purchase only.” Both menus are constantly changing, and are prepared by the rotating guest chefs who volunteer their time and wisdom to create new menus.
Regarding the current selections, December’s menu was designed by Chef Billy Grant of Restaurant Bricco who meticulously curated delectable dishes to keep guests merry and bright. Also featured on the December menu are creations by Chef Tyler Anderson of Tanda Hospitality, who currently acts as a volunteer food and beverage consultant to Gather55. Commenting on the uniqueness of the menu switches, Anderson mentioned that as of now, about three dishes each month are replaced with something new created by the chef of the month.
“The menu is small, but with the rotating chefs there will be great variety and change,” he said.
Keep your eyes on the Gather55 social media pages for food and beverage updates.
Regarding how Gather55’s initiative is sustained, Hands On Hartford relies mostly on donations and a service fee added to the “for purchase only” menu; all proceeds from the service fee go directly toward the Gather55 programming fund. While Gather55 is an incredible new development for the Hartford community, it cannot thrive only on serving those who cannot pay the full price, so make sure to stop in some time and show some love.
Gather55, 55 Bartholomew Ave. in Hartford, is open for breakfast and lunch Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., then 11:30 a.m. -2 p.m. respectively. A new development as of October, Gather55 is now offering the “for purchase only” menu at dinnertime. This will be available Wednesday through Saturday, from 5:30 p.m. through 8:30 p.m.
As they explore their operation needs and goals, expanding to include the “pay-what-you-can” menu at dinnertime could be a possibility in the future. In the spirit of charity this holiday season, check out Gather55 and help be part of a gift that keeps on giving.
Francesca Fontánez is a Meriden based journalist, educator, and creative. A graduate of both the University of New Haven and the University of Bridgeport, she is happy to be back in Meriden writing about the city she loves and surrounding areas. When she's not teaching ELA at Washington Middle School she's either exploring the Eastern seaboard for her lifestyle blog (@ eastsidevibes on Instagram) or working on music for her band, Cessa and The Zach. Email Francesca at eastsidevib firstname.lastname@example.org with tips on what you want to read about next, or just to say hi!