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Foodlink opens Community Cafe inside the Central Library

The new Foodlink Cafe at the Bausch and Lomb library in downtown Rochester.
The new Foodlink Cafe at the Bausch and Lomb library in downtown Rochester.

There’s a new café at Rochester’s Central Library and it’s different from a traditional restaurant model.

It’s called the Foodlink Community Café, run by Foodlink, the hub for emergency food needs throughout the Rochester area.

But it’s different from some of the lunch places that have been in that location at the Bausch and Lomb library building in the past, such as Starry Nites, Tim Horton’s and Simply Crepes.

According to Jes Scannell, the head of Foodlink’s Career Fellowship program, this new café will offer apprenticeships in culinary training.

“It’s a training café, but it’s also a café where anyone can come in, no matter what amount of money they have and leave with a good meal prepared by our culinary apprentices and community kitchen," Scannell explained.

Scannell said the new café works on a "pay what you can afford" model, where customers can pay the suggested price on the menu, or pay what they can afford.

Scannell said that during their initial soft launch last week, they already had people paying more than the suggested prices.

"We have an incredibly generous community. So while anyone can eat at the cafe, there's also the opportunity for folks to pay it forward." Scannell said. "Already with our soft launch, we've had incredible gifts (with) folks buying meals for their neighbors, and we hope that that generosity will support us in sustaining this model."

The café’s menu is takeout only. It will be open Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.