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Pay-what-you-can Taste Project will open second restaurant in downtown Arlington

The restaurant helps feed the food insecure with healthy, affordable food.

A pay-what-you-can-afford restaurant in Fort Worth will open a second location in downtown Arlington.

Taste Project, which helps feed the food insecure, plans to open in early 2024 in a city-owned building just north of The University of Texas at Arlington.

Since opening on Fort Worth’s South Main Street in 2017, the nonprofit has served more than 125,000 diners, according to a press release about the opening.

Like in Fort Worth, the Arlington restaurant will not list menu prices. Rather, diners are asked to pay what they can afford, what they would typically pay or what they would typically pay plus a little extra to help a neighbor in need.

The menu, which changes daily, relies heavily on local, seasonal foods.

Taste Project will also offer culinary and farm and garden training programs to give low-income adults paid work experience.

The Arlington restaurant will aim to bring healthy, affordable food to a pocket of the city considered a food desert, in which a large number of residents are low-income and do not have adequate access to nutrition food.

“I have always known God’s plans for Taste Project are bigger than Fort Worth,” Taste Project founder and director Jeff Williams, said in the press release. “We could not have asked for a more perfect partner than the city of Arlington to feed, educate, and serve even more people in our community.”

Roughly 13% of Tarrant County residents are food insecure, according to Arlington city documents. Of those, 40% live above the poverty line and do not quality for traditional government programs like SNAP. Additionally, about 41% of college students are food insecure.

Earlier this month, the Arlington City Council approved a 10-year lease with Taste, with the option to renew another 10 years. As part of the agreement, Taste will spend more than $1 million to renovate the facility, creating a 100-seat restaurant, production kitchen, culinary classroom and headquarters.

Taste will pay $1 for the space at 200 N. Cooper, which the city previously used for the water department and a temporary public library during construction of the George W. Hawkes Downtown Library.

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