Jon Bon Jovi Explains The Inspiration Behind His Restaurant Chain

Jon Bon Jovi is one of those who have decided to use their fortune to make a change in the world, and the non-profit organization Soul Foundation recently celebrated its 15th anniversary. One leg of this project involves a restaurant chain that started in his hometown, New Jersey. As he and his wife Dorothea entered their 10th year of breaking the cycle of homelessness, poverty, and hunger, Bon Jovi revealed what inspired them to create this community restaurant during an interview with Forbes.

“My partner and friend, who lived there and was born there, he sought out for me what I now know is the Michael Jordan of the issue of homelessness in Sister Marry Scullion,” he said, explaining how the story of his restaurant chain began. “He went on my behalf to meet The Sister of Mercy, and he said, ‘I worked for Jon Bon Jovi.’ She said, ‘I work for God.’ [Laughter] When I met with Sister Mary, I wasn’t being a wise guy but I said what would it cost to refurbish one row home.”

He recalled, “She told us, ‘I’m really inclined to talk to you about the block.’ She chuckled, and I said it’s not about money, it was about if we can bring back a street, we bring back a neighborhood, a neighborhood brings back perhaps the town. In that case, it was Philedelphia.”

“So that began the journey in homelessness,” the rocker said and explained how it inspired him. “Because again, I realized that can affect anyone and everyone at any time, and we all learned through the economic downturn how quickly fortunes changed. Then that led us to the second phase. We were watching a television show when Dorothea conceptualized what became the Soul Kitchen.”

They opened the first branch of Soul Kitchen in Red Bank and the second in Toms River. The restaurants operate as a farm-to-table initiative and serve meals to in-need customers. Meals can also be eaten by paying, but they do not have a price, and these payments are used as donations. According to Soul Kitchen’s statement, along with volunteering, these payments also take up almost half of the meal’s income.

Their goal is not only to serve food but also to build a community for their in-need customers, so they have created a space where the customers can spend their time and even volunteer. Jon Bon Jovi also surprises the community by occasionally joining them by either handing out food or washing dishes.