A lot of cafes in India have taken the initiative to do something innovative, while benefitting the society at the same time. This in turn brings in tourists and contributes to the welfare of the society. So here’s a list of 9 cafes from across the country that have a WOW factor besides their food :
Sheroes Hangout Café
Located in Agra, the Sheroes Hangout Café has provided employment to many female acid attack survivors. It has provided these women a chance to start afresh, with dignity and confidence. Founded by India’s Chhanv Foundation in 2014, the café also has a radio station, library and informational displays. The employees don’t feel the need to cover their scarred faces. Instead, they manage this famous café with a brave front, even sharing their horrifying stories with the customers.
Located in Kolkata, Café Toto is a unique restaurant where young adults from difficult backgrounds are provided employment. Most of these employed individuals belong to underprivileged sections of the society. They learn special skills that will be helpful to them later in life. The venture is the result of the combined efforts of NGO Tomorrow’s Foundation and the French NGO Life Project 4 Youth (LP4Y).
The café is famous for its European cuisine and remarkable desserts. The menu mostly includes vegetarian French and European dishes. Since most of the customers are foreign travellers, the employed receive specific training for five days a week. Here they learn personal skills, communication, IT skills, cooking and English. Once the training is complete, the café will open up full-time.
Tihar Food Court
Located in New Delhi, Tihar Food Court serves delicious fast food ranging from sandwiches, samosas to thalis. It is near the Gate No. 3, in the periphery of jail complex in Tilak Nagar. It is a part of jail’s rehab programme and is an innovative initiative by the officials. The prisoners run and manage the food court from a semi-open prison. Within South Asia’s largest prison complex, the convicts are groomed to earn a living.
The Giving Tree
Located in Kochi, The Giving Tree is a free community fridge that serves the needy. This initiative by Pappadavada (owned by Minu Pauline) has come up with a remarkable solution to aid the poor and hungry. The public fridge installed by Pappadavada preserves at least 50 food packs daily. . Besides that, the restaurant stores the uneaten food in the fridge, which is accessible to any hungry person. The restaurant also accepts food donated by others after people mark the date of preparation. The fridge is open 24/7 for all those who are not fortunate enough to afford a meal. In a country where thousands die of hunger, this is a great way to feed them, while saving food from going waste.
Mirchi and Mime
Located in Mumbai, Mirchi and Mime is an exceptional restaurant that serves modern-Indian cuisine. The staff is deaf and mute, hence the customers make the orders using hand gestures. The place has a relaxed and pleasant vibe, with calm lights, adding to the serenity. It serves elegant and seasonal dishes from select locations across India. The kitchen team is highly-proficient and co-operative. In addition, the restaurant also offers curbside pickup and non-contact delivery. The place has a seating capacity of 88 and is often packed on weekends.
Located in Chennai, the NGO Vidya Sagar runs the Kalakkal Café . The café is a popular hangout as its menus are in Braille. It has ramps to enable the wheelchair-bound to enter. The floor is slip resistant and there’s hand railing along the wall. These features have popularized the place as the disable can enjoy a wonderful outing here. It is now open on all Saturdays, and has set the bar high for other cafés. It is a perfect setting for a memorable evening in Chennai.
Located in Ahmedabad, Seva Café is an extraordinary place that works on the concept of pay it forward. It is a unique concept that involves paying for the next customer. The staff informs the customers that their meal was paid by the previous customer at the end of the meal. In turn they are asked to make a contribution or the next guest.
The café runs on the idea of peer-to-peer generosity. It is staffed by volunteers who cook and serve patrons. The accounting is totally transparent and is put on display outside the café. It is open four days a week and serves 50 customers daily.
Taste of darkness
Located in Hyderabad, Taste of Darkness is India’s only dark restaurant. Blind waiters serve a pre-planned surprise meal in complete darkness. It is a marvelous concept by Dialogue in the Dark. Forbes has rated the restaurant as one of the top 50 experiences one should have in a lifetime. Food and travel websites highly recommend this place as the food is top-notch.
The restaurant is an exciting way of enjoying delicious food, while imparting an important message. It attracts many tourists from across India and globally, and is certainly a must visit destination.
Located in Delhi, Echoes is yet another unique café in the country with a remarkable concept. A diligent team of deaf and mute staff manages the place effortlessly. There are sign blocks at the entrance of the café, on which all alphabets are written. The various signs denote different alphabets, which aids in communication.
You can place your order by penning down the dish code and quantity of your choice in the notebook that is provided. The food is majestic and the vibe is sublime. Recently, the café has added a special ‘Monsoon Menu’, which includes pocket-friendly snacks like Chhole kulche, Paneer pizza, Mango Frizzy shake and so on.
Echoes has its outlets in Kolkata and Bangalore as well. It stands out for exceptionally good food and the warmth of the staff. Definitely a must visit!