Today we chat with Maggie Kane, the Executive Director at A Place At The Table in the Warehouse District of downtown Raleigh.
This Q&A is a part of our series called interviews with locals where we interview local Raleigh business owners and entrepreneurs to share their story with our community.
We love the concept at Maggie’s cafe, and community has always been at the heart of their mission. Read on to be inspired!
Where did you grow up and go to school? How long have you lived in Raleigh?
I grew up in Raleigh. Went to Wakefield High School and NC State University for College. Have lived here for 30 years.
How did you get into the industry you are in now?
I have worked in several restaurants for years and eventually moved into the nonprofit world too.
As I began working with folks experiencing homelessness, I saw there was a need for a place that brought all folks together, giving everyone a place to get a good dignified meal of choice.
Give us your 30 second elevator pitch for your business?
A Place at the Table is Raleigh’s first pay-what-you-can café.
Located in downtown Raleigh at 300 W. Hargett Street, Table serves some incredible, chef prepared food, at a pay-what-you-can price where all menu items have suggested prices.
Table’s mission to provide community and good food for all regardless of means.
Most popular item that you sell at your cafe?
Homemade buttermilk biscuits and/or spicy cheddar biscuits. All come with bacon or homemade sausage, egg, and cheese and are the size of your head!
Your favorite item that you sell at your cafe?
Our latin breakfast is the best! Chef Andrew’s homemade black beans, eggs, crema, avocado, homemade salsa, and brown butter cornbread. What more could you want?
What would a traveler learn about Raleigh by coming to your cafe?
Raleigh is the best because of the community that makes awesome things happen!
A Place at the Table would not be here today without this community. They have and continue to support us daily by dining with us, volunteering with us, and donating to us. Everyone can take part in A Place at the Table and they do!
If you had a friend visiting, where in Raleigh would you take them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
Gosh we have so many amazing places.
For brunch, I would go to Relish. I’d grab coffee and a snack at Table (don’t I have to say this?).
For lunch, I’d go to Cantina 18. Afternoon snack, would totally be at Bittersweet for cocktails and a snack.
For dinner, I’d go to my buddies at Gonza Tacos Y Tequila. Then I’d hit Vita Vite Art Gallery & Wine Bar for wine!
Wow, getting super full thinking of this day – but YUM! We have the greatest people running these incredible restaurants in our community.
Best thing about living in Raleigh?
100 percent the people!
Least favorite thing about living in Raleigh?
Hunger and housing insecurities that exist.
How did you pivot in your business during the 2020 pandemic?
Umm…daily? Ha! Our whole operation flipped on its head not having volunteers and as the increase in hunger in our community grew.
We took a moment to stop and think about what our mission was and reset. Our team is awesome!
In hindsight, what do you wish you had in place before the pandemic hit?
I don’t think anything could have prepared us, truly.
Can’t miss attraction in Raleigh for an out-of-town visitor?
Dorothea Dix Park or the NC Museum of Art.
What are you reading right now?
In the Company of Women, Grace Bonney. I’m Still Here, Austin Channing Brown.
What is one book every budding entrepreneur should read?
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth, and, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, Simon Sinek.
What excites you the most about doing business in Raleigh over the next 5-10 years?
I feel super hopeful about what is to come – the people I’ve met that are doing amazing things and the people I’ve met that are about to do amazing things! I can’t believe we get to be a part of this community with them.
What concerns you the most about doing business in Raleigh over the next 5-10 years?
I just want to make sure we are as equitable and inclusive as possible.
Which local Raleigh entrepreneur inspires you to do better?
Nicholé Morgan, Co-Founder and CEO, TheGifted Arts.
If you had $1 million dollars to donate to a charity, who would you give it to and why?
Oh gosh, I can’t answer this. I truly believe in so many of them in our community.
I would give 10 of them 100k. Ha! To start, Neighbor to Neighbor or the The Daniel Center for Math and Science, two organizations working with our kiddos in poverty.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a business in Raleigh?
Lean on people around you and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You don’t have to do it alone. We’ve got you! Also, celebrate everything! Every little moment is a huge success—celebrate it!
What is your favorite task that you perform in your business each day?
Chat with people curbside!
Which activity do you hate most doing in your business each day?
Drink of choice? Where in Raleigh do you get it at?
Black coffee from Black and White or a bitter red wine from Vita Vite or Longleaf Hotel.
How do you relax?
You will find me outside 90 percent of the day walking, running, or simply sitting.
What is your “WHY” for doing what you do?
I believe I am on this earth to show people how loved and cared for they are.
Do you plan on retiring?
Can I retire and still give away tons of money to our awesome orgs?
Favorite getaway spot in North Carolina?
Favorite American city?
Favorite international country?
I lived in Italy for a year – so cool!
When you hear the words “THIS IS RALEIGH” what comes to mind?
Terrance Ruth. He is running for mayor this year and wants to bring the whole community together. Raleigh is a place where we all have a voice and a place at the table!
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Go say hi to Maggie and tell her This Is Raleigh sent you:
- Address: 300 W Hargett St #50, Raleigh
- Website: TableRaleigh.org