Buying food on the go is often a necessity — especially when trying to schedule meals around multiple jobs or feed a large family. And fast food can be fun, heck, it can even be good. But people need and deserve healthier options.
Through their work with the non-profit Groceryships — an organization addressing food health related problems in South Los Angeles — Sam Polk and David Foster found that many people in the community were stuck with fast food when it came to grabbing a quick and affordable meal.
“When you look around South LA, what you see is mostly unhealthy foods because of the economic realities of different communities,” says Foster. “We think that everyone everywhere is equally deserving of not only access to healthy food, but access to all the other things that ought to be human rights.”
Polk and Foster founded Everytable to provide healthy, but still affordable, alternatives to the dollar menu. Diners can walk in, pick up a prepared meal like Kale Chicken Caesar Salad or Pozole Rojo, and either heat it up with available microwaves and eat it at the restaurant, or take it away to eat at home. Everything is priced to be affordable to everyone, regardless of income. The most expensive meal at the South LA location, which opened earlier this summer, is priced at $4.50.
Here’s the kicker: the prices at the South LA location, in a neighborhood where more than 40% of households earn $20,000 or less per year, are lower than those planned for the Downtown LA location (opening this fall) where the median income is higher. That’s right, they’re charging different amounts depending on your zip code. In DTLA, the priciest meal comes in at $8.95. “We try and price our meals at a level that’s affordable for the local community,” Foster says.
Everytable also serves the community by donating whatever’s left on the shelves at the end of the day to charities like Ella’s Foundation, an organization that provides emergency transitional housing to men in the area. Residents of the South LA neighborhood where Everytable opened up shop are grateful for the addition of a low cost, healthy option. “Obesity is prevalent in our community,” says a customer named Hejera, in the video above, “so we’re really excited that there is a place like this that can provide healthy food for the families in our neighborhood.”