Virginia restaurant owner plans more Pay What You Can Days: 'I just believe in the community'

CLTRE vgn jnt
Posted at 7:06 PM, Jan 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-28 19:07:19-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A Virginia Beach business owner is planning to make her Pay What You Can Day a monthly tradition.

"Some people were on the brink of tears," Luvenia "Luv" Hankins remembered about the first "Pay What You Can Day" she hosted in December.

At Hankins' restaurant in Kemps River Crossing, CLTRE. vgn jnt (pronounced Culture Vegan Joint), the saying goes like this: The only thing missing is "u." And that's how she's operated her business since opening in 2018.

It's not just about filling your belly with delicious vegan recipes; it's also about feeding the soul and caring for others.

Hankins says she got the idea for "Pay What You Can" from social media and other businesses doing something similar. She decided to give it a try.

For one day, build a menu without set prices, and let customers pay what they're able, or willing, to pay, whether it's a dollar from someone who needs a little help, or a $40 from someone who has enough cash to pay it forward.

It's a real risk at a time when food prices are costing restaurants more than ever. That doesn't bother Hankins.

"I believe that the community shows up and supports each other and we have people that just come in here and they’re like, ‘I just want to make sure that other people can get the meal that you guys can afford to do this,'" she said.

The first Pay What You Can day in December was a smash, Hankins says. Her busiest day of the year.

To stay stocked and able to feed people all day, CLTRE keeps orders to a two-item minimum, not counting drinks, and it seems to be working.

Hankins says she has decided to make Pay What You Can Day a monthly tradition. She plans to post February's date to her social media.

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