What´s your morning cup of joe do for you? Wake you up; offer that much-needed caffeine jolt; ensure you don´t growl at your colleagues? What if it could do a little more? Like help out the mentally challenged or children living in state care? There are a variety of cafes in Prague whose services help provide funding for a range of social programs.
Shiny, modern and new; right along the river is Café Rozmar. Opened in the summer of 2009, the café is long and bright, with fun colors and comfy seating. Run by an organization called Rozmarýna, the café is the first social firm in the Czech Republic that supports young people after they´ve left institutionalized care. Rozmarýna begins working with the youth three years before they are set to leave the home and continues helping them adapt to independent living. Not only does the café act as a fundraiser; they also have six positions open for “trainee-employees” from the state homes.
Fare is upscale café. The cappuccino was tasty, big and costs 42 CZK. Open till 10pm daily; they also offer beer, cocktails and a wine list. There´s a daily lunch special for 100 CZK and the main meals are quite ambitious; a rib-eye steak with pepper sauce and grilled pike perch. The café is non-smoking and seemed popular with business types. Lunchtime saw the café fill quickly.
Trojická 1, Prague 2
Over in New Town is Vesmírna. This small café at the end of one of the not-so-nicest streets in town is a work training program for people with mental disabilities. Aiming for a natural integration environment which brings people with and without disabilities together, the café is a non-smoking, kid friendly place. Vesmírna acts as a launching pad; preparing people with mental disabilities for future work in the labor market. The café is run by Máme otevřeno, a non-profit that supports children and adults with special needs integrate into society.
The café is popular. An evening visit found no room, but first thing on a weekday morning it was a bit quieter. The front room is scattered with tables and there´s another space in the back with a very cool platform area. There´s a low table with lots of cushions and it´s very popular with moms and kids. Area business people and students also seem to frequent Vesmírna. Light snacks; palačinky, sandwiches and salads make up the food menu. The cappuccino (35 CZK) was small but excellent with perfect foam. Service was lovely. We were greeted when we arrived with a ‘Welcome to Vesmírna´ and a plate with two tiny chocolates. We placed our order which was carefully brought by a mentally challenged waitress. She cleared our cups and brought us our second coffees. A second waitress, when we asked to pay directed us to the bar and made sure to give us our chocolates. Hearing us speak English; she even bade us a “good-bye, have a nice day” in English.
Ve Smečkách 5, Prague 1
Across the river in Malá Strana is the tiny SIMPatická Kavárna. About half a dozen wood tables make up the small space decorated with art work by the organization´s clients. SIMP is a non-profit organization whose main goal is integrating people with handicaps into society. They have a workshop in which their clients make a variety of crafts like decorated mugs, jewelry, scarves and picture frames. SIMP also has an arrangement with a Moravian winery to provide SIMPathetic wine, which can be purchased at the café. SIMP employs people with handicaps as waiters and waitresses at SIMpatická.
Our orders were immediately taken when we walked in on a weekday morning. We were, and continued to be, the only visitors during our roughly one hour stay. The cappuccino (42 CZK) was big, but not as frothy as I like. A small glass of water was brought to the table too, a nice touch. Two clients were working there, along with a woman manning the coffee machine. Music was playing and it was a very relaxed and casual atmosphere; especially considering its location up the hill towards Prague Castle. The menu is limited to coffee, tea and the like, along with desserts.
Vlašská 10, Prague 1
Other social restaurants include Cafe Therapy (Školská 30, Prague 1) which is dedicated to assisting people overcome drug addiction and the temporary “dark” cafe run by Světluška, an organization which helps people with sight problems. You can read more about their work here. Kávarna Potmě (Café after dark) is typically held for about three weeks each summer. The no light allowed venue is run by visually-impaired people.
Know of any other places combining good food with good deeds? Share your tips below!