Wednesday, March 4, will be the grand opening of Friendship Market in South End, with 100 percent of the new café’s proceeds benefitting Friendship Trays, a meals-on-wheels nonprofit that feeds disabled and elderly Mecklenburg residents.
Tastings, door prizes and a chance for a free lunch will be offered at the event, running 9:30 a.m. to noon.
“We’ve had a longtime vision that if we could create delicious meals to sell at market prices, we could generate support for our core meals-on-wheels mission,” Lucy Bush Carter, executive director of Friendship Trays, said in a statement. “Every meal we deliver is subsidized, so we are always in need of dollars to fill that gap.” One meal costs Friendship Trays $6.70 to produce, says Carter, and 57 percent of recipients pay 65 cents for their meals. So five people eating lunch at Friendship Market, spending a total of about $30, covers the cost of a week of meals for a resident in need.
The cafe’s menu highlights locally sourced and health-aimed items, such as banh mi salad (braised pork and marinated carrots, daikon and peanuts) and a roasted short rib sandwich with arugula, Manchego cheese and chimichurri aioli. Regionally roasted Notorious coffee will be sold, along with locally made pottery jam and more. To-go dishes are also offered, such as sage and parmesan gnocchi.
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Hours will be 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with to-go offered Tuesday and Thursday. Sandwiches and salads run about $6; pastries $1.50 and $2. 2402-A Distribution Street (off Remount Road, next door to the Friendship Trays headquarters); friendshiptrays.org/friendship-kitchen/friendship-market.