When Robert D. Adamson passes by a vacant building, he doesn't see an eyesore. He sees a vision to feed the homeless and underprivledged of Dayton.
When Robert D. Adamson passes by a vacant building, he doesn't see an eyesore. He sees a vision to feed the homeless and underprivileged of Dayton.
With experience as a high end chef and caterer, Adamson launched One Bistro in Miamisburg to do exactly that. Now, with an explosion of public support, Adamson says he's ready to take his grassroots concept citywide.
Dayton Local: What does One Bistro do?
Robert Adamson: "We do free community feedings on Wednesdays, give out gifts. This week we gave out 120 meals and gave out gifts to about 60 kids. We do a weekly meal, people who can afford to pay, and can't afford to pay but there's no charge for the meal. We just want to develop the community."
"Our pay what you can afford concept is, if you can't afford a meal, you can actually work for that meal, or pay what you can pay. The suggested price of each menu item is $6, if you can afford to pay $2, then you pay that for the meal. It's a strong volunteer base, we have one employee and everybody else is volunteers. A lot of people show up for the community meals because they really get tied in with their community and see the needs. It's a great chance to build relationships, which is what this place is about."
"Not only dealing with the hunger issues, but also other dysfunctional things that might be going on. A lot of ministries and churches miss out on that. That's what this place is about, developing the hands and feet of Jesus and to do what he did, going town to town to help."
DL: How did the idea come about?
RA: "I've been a chef for 25 years, mostly at the executive chef level, owner-operator and high-end catering. I catered for Vidal Sassoon, and Chris Collingsworth and Billy Joel, the Lindner family were my clients. Mostly $80 to $100 a head kind of dinner parties, so my whole background was all upscale. I was on the waterfront for 10 years and went into executive chef level jobs."
"I have always done community outreach and donations , I worked as a community liaison for churches, and the idea of a community café came into my head, how could I develop a restaurant with a cause. Essentially to give back my talents for the greater good. That's when we started processing the idea."
"Every time I would drive past the [abandoned Dayton Executive Hotel] on I-75, I would get this vision of housing homeless people and developing them in the restaurant business and have a self-sustaining restaurant where we could build good relationships and train people in the business. Obviously my budget wouldn't allow me to buy the hotel."
"About two years ago I got started. I literally went online and started looking at community kitchens and cafes, and what we found was that there's a big movement going on of these concepts. It's doubling every year."
DL: How has the idea evolved since then?
RA: "Locally we have two more opening, one in the Twin Towers neighborhood of Downtown by February, and one in Springboro. We're waiting on the school board there, because we'll be going into an old school. It's turnkey with a commercial kitchen."
"We're working with 6-7 nonprofits who want to open their own. We've got possible locations in Oxford, Xenia, Troy, Greenville, if I had enough funds I could open 10 of these right now. That was my vision, to have one of these in every community in south Dayton. People tell me 'that plan sounds pretty aggressive,' and I tell them, 'you don't know the God that I know.' We could open 10 of these. With these other nonprofits on board, it's really going to launch this concept within the region and all the way down to Cincinnati and Middletown."
"We're not even a year old and it's been an amazing blessing. Next year we're on track to do about 10,000 free meals with our everyday customers, as well as the community meal on Wednesday night. On community meal night we have 120 to 132 people, it's pretty much packed all night long."
DL: How can people help?
RA: "They can come in and donate. We're doing a fundraiser where you can buy an ornament and put it on the tree for $25, we're looking at about a little over $10,000 to fund those community meals next year."
"If you want to volunteer you an do so online at onebistro.org. There are signups for every day, every serving, events, and so on. You can also donate online at the website as well."