Though it would be nice if we could all just do our living on a prayer, Jon Bon Jovi knows survival takes a bit more than that—like food, for instance—despite what his song title might suggest. That’s why this week, the famous rocker opened his second JBJ Soul Kitchen restaurant, a place where those in need can pay for their meals by volunteering and those who can afford it are encouraged to purchase a “Pay It Forward” certificate to help cover other diners’ costs.
“It just looks like another restaurant,” Bon Jovi told CBS News, describing the new JBJ Soul Kitchen in Toms River, New Jersey, a town that was hit especially hard during Hurricane Sandy. “And you have to understand that those who are in need sometimes don’t have that opportunity to go to a restaurant.” His wife, Dorothea, who also works on the venture, hammered that point home. “People are coming in, they're choosing from a menu…. They sit at a beautiful table, we sit people together communally. And everyone has the same experience regardless of how they got there,” she said.
The new restaurant is part of a larger facility called the B.E.A.T. Center where people can also apply for nutritional assistance and health care benefits, as well as receive job training for work in the restaurant industry. According to the AP, Bon Jovi has partnered with local food bands and charities with the hope of providing $5 million in services in the center’s first year.
And if helping out a chartable cause isn’t a good enough reason for you to drop by Bon Jovi’s restaurant, what about the possibility of a celebrity sighting? The singer says he occasionally works in the JBJ Soul Kitchen himself. “I'm an expert in the field of washing dishes,” he said. Just be careful, Jon. The floors in the kitchen can get slippery when wet.
I guess now I owe him a “Pay It Forward” certificate to make up for that joke.