Jon Bon Jovi brings soul to Rutgers


Photo @JBJSoulKitchenRedBank on Facebook

Soul Kitchen in Red Bank, NJ

On Jan. 23, Jon Bon Jovi and his wife Dorothea Hurley will be opening their third restaurant, JBJ Soul Kitchen, at Rutgers University-Newark in the Paul Robeson Campus Center. Soul Kitchen opened in Red Bank and Toms River in 2011 as a way for people to attend a dine-in restaurant without having to pay a large expense. What makes Soul Kitchen unique is that customers can choose to volunteer at the restaurant as a way to pay for their meal rather than paying with cash.

Each diner can pay $12 at the door or offer to volunteer to receive one three-course meal based on American regional cuisine: a choice of soup or salad as an appetizer, fish, meat or a vegetarian option for an entree and a homemade dessert to top it off.

“Guests are encouraged to pay it forward by making an additional donation or volunteering to cover a meal for a guest in need. All proceeds go to the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation,” said  Michael Di Girolomo, a volunteer coordinator for the Rutgers-Newark Soul Kitchen.

The JBJ Soul Foundation funds and develops partnerships, with community organizations in an attempt to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness.

Di Girolomo explained that volunteers can help serve meals, clean plates and silverware, and clear the tables. According to the JBJ Soul Foundation, 46 percent of diners earned meals through volunteering and the other 54 percent paid with donations upon entering the restaurant, as of Hi’s Eye’s print.

According to Di Girolomo, Soul Kitchen, as well as Rutgers-Newark and Gourmet Dining, partnered with the JBJ Soul Foundation because of the growing rate of students struggling with food insecurity.

Being unable to afford food in college is a harsh reality that many students face, and with Soul Kitchen opening at its new location, the issue is being addressed directly. With the intention of helping students with affordable and healthy food while also encouraging volunteerism, Soul Kitchen is giving Rutgers-Newark students the option to give back to the community instead of spending exorbitant amounts of money on meals.

College expenses can add up quickly and saving money for food can be difficult. Having Soul Kitchen as a donation-based restaurant helps college students manage their money while getting healthy, balanced meals and  giving back to the community.