What We Do
Karma Kitchen is an experiment in generosity in the form of a pay-it-forward restaurant -- one where there are no prices on the menu, where everyone from the waiter to the dishwasher is a volunteer, and the check at the end of your meal reads $0.00. By serving meals in the spirit of a gift, and inviting guests to contribute from the heart --not for their own meal, but for those who come after, it creates a chain of generosity that keeps on giving.
Karma Kitchen was started by a group of friends aspiring to bring the spirit of gifting into a mainstream restaurant setting. In 2007 they partnered with a local restaurant in Berkeley, California and decided to open one afternoon a week. Since that debut Karma Kitchen's all-volunteer crews have served over 24,000 meals. Guests are welcomed like family and treated to a transformative dining experience by volunteers who are there simply to practice unconditional giving. At Karma Kitchen guests and volunteers alike help create a future that moves us from transaction to trust, from isolation to community, and from fear of scarcity to a celebration of abundance. In addition to its home in Berkeley there are now Karma Kitchen chapters in Washington DC, and Chicago as well.
Each week a unique crew of anywhere between 10 and 20 volunteers shows up to serve at Karma Kitchen. Behind the scenes is a core group that oversees volunteer sign ups, roster and inventory management, volunteer orientations, menu planning, restaurant ambiance, guest experience and much more! Adding up to a combined total over 20,000 volunteer hours --- all in service of growing in generosity.
How Can I USe It
Be Our Guest. Come visit us at one of our locations. Bring your friends and loved ones to Karma Kitchen for a meal.
Sign-Up to Serve! If you are local, then volunteering at Karma Kitchen is a great way to get involved. Sign up online and we'll send you more information.
Share Your Ideas. Ultimately Karma Kitchen is a platform for expressing generosity so if you have any pay-it-forward ideas that you'd like to share with us, feel free to reach out.
What Our Users Have to Say
"This is where I come to recharge on Sundays. I've eaten here and volunteered, and I have to say that the attitude here in so refreshing - it's more about community than competition/money. They still get the job done, and have been able to maintain themselves for years. Wouldn't the world be more pleasant if we came at things from a more open-hearted/generous point of view? Come to KK and experience it...there's no other way to explain it!" --Julia T., in a Yelp review
"This was the best day of my life." --Joseph, after first time volunteering
"I absolutely cannot give this place enough stars! I've been a patron several times and volunteered as a server this past Sunday and can confidently say that this place offers much more than just its delicious vegetarian food-- it provides a space for an entire community of people looking to bond and grow in generosity together." --Yelp review
"Thank you for a beautiful Sunday at Karma Kitchen spent welcoming guests, serving tables, filling tea cups, rinsing dishes, slicing pie, placing orders, and going about the hundreds of big and small actions that combine to make Karma Kitchen possible. I don't know if we can eat anywhere else on Sunday's now!" --Guestbook at KarmaKitchen
"I have worked on many people/ community oriented projects before. This is the first time that it felt like a well worn blanket; that comforted me the moment I chose to put it on. My view of Karma Kitchen was from the inside. And on the inside, Karma Kitchen is a well versed poem. While the lyrics change ever week; the tone, the melody and the harmony is always in sync. I have miles to go before I grow but I realize that the tone for how I want to live the rest of my life is setting in. While there are many things outside, that are beyond my control, I want to be like the behind the scenes of Karma Kitchen; a well versed poem." --Andrea, after serving as a dish-washer