Art hangs on the walls—accompanied by a few vegetable murals—in the Rad Dish Café, which was filled with about 75 people on Friday night in celebration of the café’s one-year anniversary.
The cafe held an open mic night to celebrate its first birthday in its location, Ritter Hall Annex.
The open mic night had about 10 performers and was open to musicians, poets and comedians. Each performer was given 10 minutes of performing time.
Halfway through the event, the group sang “Happy Birthday” to the Rad Dish Café and then cut into a large sheet red velvet cake to share among attendees.
Co-head for human resources at Rad Dish and junior social work major Claire Pope said the creation of the Rad Dish Café one year ago was inspired by a need for sustainably produced food on Main Campus. All of the foods served at the cafe are sourced locally and prepared on site.
The Rad Dish Café is a co-op organization, meaning it’s democratically run, and all decisions affecting the cafe are put to a vote by members. Members have to volunteer at the cafe for at least 10 hours per semester, and they can attend weekly meetings to discuss how things are running and ideas for improvement. When ideas are brought to the table, the parties collectively make a decision on how to move forward.
“We need more wholesome food options that we can be proud to put into our bodies,” Pope said. “It’s not just French fries, which I’m also proud to put into my body, but you can’t do that every day.”
The co-op has gotten stronger throughout this past year, Pope said.
“We’ve gotten our footing of what works and what doesn’t work as far as making decisions quickly while still being cooperative and making sure everyone’s voice is heard,” she added.
Currently, 13 students are employed at the Rad Dish Café, Pope said. As it expands, she said more jobs might open up.
In the next year, Pope said she’s excited for upcoming challenges—both expected and unexpected.
“We have a lot of exciting things on the horizon, and seeing them become real is going to be really exciting,” she said.
Junior communication studies major Alana Domingo came to the open mic night and said since she transferred to Temple, she’s only been in the cafe a couple of times—but now she hopes to attend more frequently.
“A lot of the food options on campus aren’t healthy, and I’ve been trying to have a healthier lifestyle,” Domingo said. “I really like what they’re doing, getting stuff locally sourced and from the community. The food is good and it’s good for you, and I want to support that.”
Nate Cabigting, a junior English major and musical performer at the open mic night, said he comes into the cafe three times a week for coffee.
“It’s just a good atmosphere and the food’s good,” he said. “And the coffee is so good.”
Cabigting said he thinks Rad Dish will be open for years to come.
“It’s in good hands,” he said.
Head of Rad Dish’s finance committee and junior accounting and film major Trevor Southworth said the cafe has done reasonably well for its first year open on Main Campus.
“Our sales have increased as people figured out where we are and who we are,” Southworth said. “We’re definitely still a first-year business. We’re not necessarily rolling in it, but we’re doing well enough.”
Southworth said developing stronger relationships with student groups and community members is the focus of this semester. That’s why Friday’s large turnout was so exciting, he said.
“It gives reason to all we’ve done.”
Gillian McGoldrick can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @gill_mcgoldrick.