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July 15, 2022

Pay what you can restaurant opens in Hartford

Courtesy INGroup Creative Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin speaks at a press conference for Gather55's grand opening July 14.

What’s being called the state’s first “pay what you can” restaurant opened for breakfast and lunch this week.

Gather55, a new Hartford-based restaurant at 55 Bartholomew Ave., created by social services nonprofit Hands on Hartford, hosted its grand opening July 14, and is serving breakfast and lunch to anyone looking for a meal, regardless of their financial status.

According to the organization, the new restaurant was created by combining two existing programs at Hands on Hartford: The Café at Fifty-Five, which closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Community Meals Day Program. Hands on Hartford Executive Director Barbara Shaw said the goal of the restaurant is “bringing economically diverse communities together while enjoying a hearty and healthy meal."

Gather55 will offer breakfast from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Hands on Hartford’s Center for Community, which opened in 2016.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said Gather55 plans to begin serving dinner with a rotating menu in October, led by chef Tyler Anderson.

Founded in 1969, Hands On Hartford focuses on helping the city’s most economically challenged residents with food, housing, and their health.

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