The Grata Cafe, an Italian-themed eatery, opened Aug. 3 with the goal of bringing people together through food. The restaurant is located in Carr Mill Mall at the former location of Elmo's Diner.
Grata Cafe offers everything from pancakes to pasta, and serves breakfast all day with gluten-free and vegan options.
Owner Jay Radford said he has always had a passion for community building, whether that was through running the former Mom in Chapel Hill blog as a stay-at-home dad or founding the philanthropy-focused “Not So Normal Run + Fun."
“I saw a need in the community for a place where people can come together again — a place that is safe,” Radford said.
Jackie Helvey, a longtime Carrboro resident, visited Grata Cafe after it opened and said she was especially impressed by Radford’s continued dedication to serving his community.
Helvey ordered “The Table,” a yogurt bowl, the sales of which are donated to TABLE, a Carrboro-based nonprofit dedicated to fighting food insecurity.
“Not only is the food just really good, but this whole concept of giving back to the community in so many ways is simply unheard of,” Helvey said.
Similarly, sales from Grata Cafe's "The Arts Center" bowl are donated to The ArtsCenter in Carrboro.
Unlike many other restaurants, Radford has a no tipping policy. Instead of having his staff rely on customer tips, every employee has a starting salary of $18 an hour, and any tips left on the table are donated to a different charity of an employee's choosing every month, he said.