The Cafe at Sisters Of The Road
Sisters Of The Road’s Cafe
Sisters isn’t a restaurant, it’s a friend. I always feel better after I leave here - the whole rest of my day improves. It’s part of the reason I’m not doing drugs and alcohol, and why I’ve started back to school. —A Sisters Customer
Since 1979, Sisters has operated in the Old Town/Chinatown neighborhood. At that time, the Cafe was anonymously christened when a circle containing three Xs - the hobo symbol for good food and hospitality - was chalked on the pavement outside the restaurant door. This symbol became Sisters’ logo.
Sisters’ customers, volunteers and staff have been creating community for more than three decades by building long term, stable and mutually supportive relationships. Creating a safe, hospitable space which offers delicious, nourishing food are our priorities in the Cafe.
In the Cafe, we practice active nonviolence. Nonviolence asks us to stop violence without using violence ourselves, confronting it using love and respect to promote the safety and well-being of all. Our belief is that creating a nonviolent environment starts with relationships, by calling each other by name, and by caring for one another.
Hours of operation
The Cafe begins serving at 10am and serves the last time slot at 2pm. Customers reserve a time for their meal (known as a “time-slot”), and can do this as early as 9am and time-slots are available until we fill all spots for that day. Each time-slot ticket allows for the customer to order up to $4.00 worth of food.
Paying for meals
All first-time customers are offered their first meal and drink free, as part of our welcome to the Cafe.
Returning customers can use:
- Food stamps/EBT cards
- Sisters’ Meal Coupons (click here to purchase meal coupons to give to folks in the community)
- Barter work
- Customers who are unable to do any of the work involved in running the Cafe and who have no other way receive their meal free
- Families who come into the Cafe with only one caregiver and no alternate means of paying for their meals also receive free meals
60% of the meals we serve are earned through our Barter Program.
To participate in the barter work program, customers can spend fifteen minutes of their day mopping the floor, taking out the garbage, or sweeping the front stoop and earn $1.50 in credit at the Cafe, enough for a delicious, nutritious meal and a drink. A customer can barter for several hours at the rate of $6.00/hour of meal credit. A three hour shift results in $18.00 in meal credit – enough money to eat for a few weeks at the Cafe or to treat friends. Barter workers can put “money on their books” to use later or to share a meal with a friend, or they can buy barter meal coupons to give away.
Our Cafe also offers:
- a safe and clean children’s play area and tables for families
- clean, gender-neutral restrooms
- a message board so community members can stay in touch with family and friends
- information regarding referral services
- and references for barter workers seeking to re-enter the workforce