‘Everybody gets an opportunity to eat’: New donate-what-you-can café in the Star City

Ursula’s Café even offers pay-what-you-can books, records, and clothes

Ursula's Cafe opened up this week in downtown Roanoke, and offers a unique dining experience

ROANOKE, Va. – Order’s up at Ursula’s Café in Roanoke.

It’s a donate-what-you-can café and community arts venue, co-founded by Ami Trowell.

“That way everybody gets an opportunity to eat. Because if you have a little more, you give a little more. If you have just enough and if you don’t have any to donate this time, then you also still get to eat,” said Trowell.

Trowell and her husband came up with the idea during the pandemic. Months later, their dream of helping others is now a reality.

“We’re so fortunate, my husband and I and the people that we work with that we have extra,” said Trowell. “There’s just no reason we shouldn’t be able to share that with all the members of our community.”

You can sit down and enjoy a meal or just hang out.

Ursula’s Café even offers pay-what-you-can books, records, and clothes.

On Friday, Hank Ebert drove in from Salem to get a taste.

“We like trying new places and we like the message that this is sending to help others who may need a helping hand,” said Ebert.

As for the food?

“Very good. Very good. Yeah. As you can see there’s nothing left,” said Ebert.

Volunteer and Ursula’s Café Board Vice President Katie Stueckle loves the idea of a community space.

“I love the idea of creating a community space that creates equal dignity for everybody who comes to that space,” said Stueckle.

After just one week, Trowell said the response has been overwhelming, and she has a message for anyone in need.

“We’re here. For you,” said Trowell. “We can’t do it all and we can’t fix everything. But we can make sure that you get at least one hot meal.”

If you want to get involved with Ursula’s Café, click here.

About the Author:

You can watch Lindsey during Virginia Today every weekend or as a reporter during the week!