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© Meghan O'Neill
My personal karaoke inspiration, Jon Bon Jovi, is putting his rock-star name to good use in his native New Jersey: The musician and philanthropist has plans in the works to open a community restaurant in Red Bank. Through the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, which focuses on combatting homelessness, Soul Kitchen, opening this spring, will serve low-cost or no-cost meals to diners in exchange for volunteer work at the restaurant. Inspired by the SAME (“So All May Eat”) Café in Denver, which also operates on a pay-what-you-can model, Bon Jovi hopes his restaurant will be a model for future endeavors. The community-restaurant momentum is definitely building: In Oregon, Common Table’s low-cost meals subsidize its restaurant-job training program, and in Michigan, Selma Café raises funds to build hoop-houses for local farmers. Restaurants are realizing that they can do more in their communities than just feed people—and JBJ is doing more with his star power than just rocking out.