Helen Schwab

New South End cafe benefits Friendship Trays

Short rib sandwich at Friendship Market
Short rib sandwich at Friendship Market Friendship Market

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.

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.