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Taste Project is partnering with the City of Arlington to replicate our Taste Community Restaurant program in Fort Worth at 200 N. Cooper Street in Arlington.  Our programs in Arlington will include pay-what-you-can meal service, culinary job training, and farm and garden activities.

Our organization is designed to feed, educate, and serve Tarrant County’s food insecure residents, who make up 13% of the county’s population.  Since opening in 2017, more than 125,000 people have dined at our initial location in Fort Worth.

We provide healthy, high-quality meals made from seasonal ingredients from the surrounding area. Our menu has no prices. Guests can simply:

  1. Pay what you can afford;
  2. Pay what you would typically pay; or
  3. Pay what you would typically pay, plus a little extra to help a neighbor in need.

Pictured (Left to Right): Harrison Gibson, Leslie Eades, Greg Nelson, Bonnie Wilson, Brian Wronko, Jeff Williams, and Julie Williams.

City of Arlington Partnership

We are partnering with the City of Arlington to bring our pay-what-you-can community restaurant concept to the heart of Downtown Arlington.

Addressing food insecurity is a top priority for Arlington residents.  According to the 2020-2024 HUD Consolidated Plan for the City of Arlington, low and moderate-income individuals and households typically do not have regular access to healthy food because they lack adequate transportation and affordable healthy food choices.

On August 2, 2022, the Arlington City Council approved a 10-year lease agreement, with two five-year options to renew, with Taste Project for the restaurant location. We plan to renovate the building, formerly used by the Water Utilities Department and the Arlington Public Library, into a 100-plus seat full-service restaurant that includes a production kitchen, culinary classroom and headquarter office. The partnership will also add one of Yelp’s Top 100 Best Places to Eat in the US to Arlington’s growing list of dining options in Downtown.

“We are excited to partner with Taste Project to ensure good food for everyone,” said Mayor Jim Ross.  “The organization’s unique approach to helping those in need, while building community, makes it a great fit for the City of Arlington.”

The future Arlington restaurant at 200 North Cooper is located within walking distance of UTA, Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital, and numerous Downtown homes and businesses. The location is also easily accessible through Arlington’s affordable citywide on-demand public transportation service, Via Rideshare.

In addition, Taste Project’s culinary job training program provides paid work experience for low-income adults and adults with barriers to employment.  According to the Department of Labor, entry level foodservice positions, typically in fast food, start between minimum wage and $11 per hour.  But adults with certified training can obtain living wage positions in full-service and fine dining restaurants, and production kitchens—which is an expanding marketplace and a growing need for Arlington businesses.

200 N. Cooper Street

On August 2, 2022, the Arlington City Council approved a 10-year lease agreement, with two five-year options to renew, with Taste Project for the restaurant location. We plan to renovate the 13,00 square foot building, formerly used by the Water Utilities Department and the Arlington Public Library, into a 100-plus seat full-service restaurant that includes a production kitchen, culinary classroom and headquarter office.

The future Arlington restaurant, which will bring affordable healthy food choices where they are needed most, is located within walking distance of UTA, Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital, and numerous Downtown homes and businesses. The location is also easily accessible through Arlington’s affordable citywide on-demand public transportation service, Via Rideshare.

We enlisted Coeval Studio based in Dallas to design and layout the building renovations. Lead designers Miguel Vicens and Joh Paul Valverde completed the design work for Taste Project’s Fort Worth location and the duo will look to create the same warm and inviting atmosphere in Arlington.

Arlington Location Programming

We are partnering with the City of Arlington to replicate our Taste Community Restaurant program in Fort Worth at 200 N. Cooper Street in Arlington.  Our programs in Arlington will include pay-what-you-can meal service, culinary job training, and farm and garden activities.

“I have always known God’s plans for Taste Project are bigger than Fort Worth,” said Jeff Williams, founder and executive director of Taste Project.  “We could not have asked for a more perfect partner than the City of Arlington to feed, educate, and serve even more people in our community.”


Pay-What-You-Can Meal Service

Like in Fort Worth, the future Arlington restaurant will have no listed menu prices for its healthy, high-quality meals, which are made from local seasonal ingredients. Instead, diners can do one of the following:

  1. Pay what you can afford;
  2. Pay what you would typically pay; or
  3. Pay what you would typically pay, plus a little extra to help a neighbor in need.

Regulars who dine at the Taste Community Restaurant in Fort Worth say they appreciate the nonprofit’s inviting atmosphere and healthy, affordable dishes.

“Eating at Taste Community Restaurant is one of the highlights of my week,” said Monette, a regular guest at Taste Community Restaurant in Fort Worth.  “I never have to worry if my budget is short that week. I am very appreciative and grateful for the service and the menu provided by the wonderful staff.”

Eric, also a regular at the Fort Worth location, agreed. “I’ve been unemployed since the pandemic started, but I’m able to eat here and have great service without feeling guilty.”

 

 

 

 

 

 


Culinary Training Programs

Our new Arlington location will allow us to expand our Culinary Training Programs now offered in Fort Worth. In partnership with Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County, we will provide an accelerated Pre-Apprenticeship, Fundamentals Cook Apprenticeship, and Sous Chef Apprenticeship programs.

Taste Project’s Culinary Job Training Programs are designed for low-income adults and adults with barriers to employment.  We provide the critical training our Apprentices need to get a living wage, highly-skilled position within the foodservice industry segment that is expanding.  We focus on hands-on work experience in real-world environments located within the communities we serve; which is why our apprentices are in-demand.

Our unique programs concludes with our Showcase Dinner; a final exam where apprentices develop, plan, prepare, and present their menu to local employers looking to hire! Our Fort Worth employers include Dickies Arena, Fixture Kitchen and Social Lounge, Marriott Downtown, Sage Dining Services, Stonehouse Fine Dining, Texas Health Resources, the Worthington Hotel (Toro Toro Latin Steakhouse), and many others.  All of our Apprentices receive multiple job offers on-the-spot.


Taste Community Garden

Taste Community Garden provides fresh, healthy food to guests at Taste Community Restaurant, while also serving as a hub where diners and volunteers can learn about gardens, food sourcing, gardening techniques, and promote use of these skills at home.

Here our community can develop, maintain, and share knowledge within a community garden tied to a restaurant. Additionally, this work will transform the surrounding landscape into an aesthetically pleasing patio and garden, promoting green space and healthy development within the Downtown Arlington.

 

 

 

 

THANK YOU!

Taste Project received a $100,000 lead gift from the Amon G. Carter Foundation to begin transforming the industrial building into a 3,000-square-foot restaurant and 1,500-square-foot production kitchen. Project costs are estimated between $1.2 million and $1.5 million and will take 12-18 months to complete.