“A safe place to gather:” A new café is changing a neighborhood on Milwaukee’s north side

MILWAUKEE -- A new café is changing a neighborhood on Milwaukee's north side. It's the only restaurant of its kind in Milwaukee. You pay what you can afford for your meal.

Tricklebee Café

Tricklebee Café

Intoxicating aromas of black bean chili and chocolate chip oat cookies, both vegan, filled the air Wednesday, December 14th at Tricklebee Café.

"We go with whatever comes in from the farms," said Christie Melby-Gibbons, executive director.

Inside the storefront at 44th and North, fresh and local ingredients determine the menu of the day for anyone to enjoy.

"People can eat here even if they don't have the means to pay for their meal," said Melby-Gibbons.

The pay-what-you-can model at this mostly vegan and vegetarian café means those who can afford the meal donate that amount or more -- while others can make up the cost a different way.

Tricklebee Café

Tricklebee Café

"They could come maybe volunteer in exchange for their meal," said Melby-Gibbons.

Tricklebee CaféTricklebee is a ministry of the Moravian Church. It's part of the 'One World Everybody Eats' network. There are close to 60 similar cafes in the country -- and 50 more in the start-up phase. All with the same goal -- helping those in need.

Dilapidated storefronts is part of what drew Tricklebee Café officials to this particular area. They said they want to help revitalize the neighborhood. Plus, they said this area is a 'food desert,' which means no access to healthy, fresh, nutritious food within about a mile.

Tricklebee Café

Tricklebee Café

The chef is from the neighborhood. Her food is about more than flavor.

Tricklebee Café

Tricklebee Café

"It's a really a great way for folks from different economic backgrounds to meet in the community," said Tanya Ingvoldstad Otero, chef.

It's about feeding the soul.

"I just believe everyone deserves good, healthy food and a safe place to gather," said Melby-Gibbons.

Tricklebee Café has been open for about a month.