(Roman and Adriana Wilcox, cofounders)
(A message from restaurateur, author and Big Brunch judge, Will Guidara)
(a video message from Roman, cofounder)
(Dan Levy in support of our efforts! Thanks, Dan)
Hi, I am Roman Wilcox. I am the co-founder and co-owner of One Grub Community Diner, along with my wife, Adriana. You might know me as the vegan chef who made it to the semifinals of Max's competition show, The Big Brunch! There, I competed for the same reason that I am coming to you today, to save the local community diner and food access project that my wife and I started several years ago. Visit our website here
We are El Paso's first 100 percent plant-based food business with a heart to provide healthy food access to the people of our community, no matter their circumstances. Our community-supported pay-it-forward program is in place to ensure that anyone may receive a delicious plant-based meal whether they have the money or not. It is a beautiful thing! Visit OGC's Instagram here
(The PIF system)
We are big supporters of local food, agriculture, farmers, the environment, and food access/education initiatives. We have a market that sells our house-made vegan proteins and dairy alternatives. We support local artisans and makers by hosting weekly markets and selling their goods.
(Farmer's Market Days)
(Locally grown produce for local favorite dishes)
(Locally crafted Kombucha that we carry)
(Locally made desserts and Irish Sea moss gels that we also carry)
We share space with our sister nonprofit, Planty for the People, where they use their urban farm to educate volunteers on growing food and taking care of the soil in our desert climate. The produce grown is available at donation pricing. We hold space for a community seed hub inside the diner and a small food pantry just outside our front doors where the community may take from or leave for someone else. Visit PFTP's Instagram here
(some pomegranates from our small urban orchard)
(Planty for the People urban farm in bloom)
(Samae and a garden Sunflower)
(PFTP Produce fresh from the farm)
This project is especially important to me because I feel like everyone deserves the right to fresh, healthy food and to be a part of a supportive, loving community. One Grub Community Diner is a gathering place for people to connect over a meal in a place that invites warmth, care, integrity, and respect for our fellow neighbors. I have worked for over 28 years in food and hospitality and have never experienced the magic that happens at One Grub Community Diner. This place is powered by the love and support of our staff, our guests, our volunteers and all the amazing folks who choose to lock arms with us.
(Healthy food, community and friendship. It's our DNA)
(Friends gather in the living room for smoothies and laughs)
(Post-workout brunch meetups are the best at OGC)
We come to you today and ask you to be a part of our community and lock arms with us in this time of uncertainty for the home of One Grub Community (OGC) Diner.
Here's the story: We are a grassroots social entrepreneurship that started in 2016 as a food truck/market stand. In 2019, we became a community pay-it-forward diner focused on healthy vegan versions of El Paso favorites. We are set inside of First Christian Church, where we were allowed to expand our mission and vision for healthy food access/education to the people of El Paso. We are in the heart of central El Paso, which is also deemed a food desert. Being there has allowed us to reach a multitude of people from every background and socio-economic status that you could imagine. For some time now, the building has been for sale.
(We started as a food truck)
(Artist, Diane, helping us transform the space)
The time has now come, and the building has been sold. We have been offered an unfavorable 6-month lease with no option of renewal from the new management. Our rental obligations have doubled in the last year and will now double once again under the newly proposed lease. We have a hood ventilation system that belongs to us, is brand new (we have the receipts), and had arranged an agreement with our prior landlords that it is ours to keep in the event of us leaving. The new management is insisting that we are to sign it over to them in the proposed lease. Our future is now uncertain and frankly, we are heartbroken.
Just recently, we were forced to close our doors because the electricity was shut off in our kitchen. We had to throw away and compost a ton of spoiled food. Our staff has now been shorted upwards to 18 hours on their paychecks, and all the sales of 2 days are gone with no chance of recuperation. It is safe to say that One Grub Community Diner and Planty for the People are in crisis.
In the building, there is another nonprofit, El Jardin Breastfeeding Garden, that has been evicted with nowhere to go, as well. It is clear these community-grounded efforts are not lucrative enough for the new owners to hold on to.
The building was under contract for over a year, and multiple times, OGC and El Jardin had asked for preliminary agreements so that we could plan for whatever was to come. Multiple times, we were reassured that they would work with us. They stated how much they enjoy our concept and that we are considered anchor tenants of the space. Before buying the space, these people were regular guests of the diner, so you can imagine how their reassurance felt safe to us in a time of everything else feeling so in the air.
This building is special to us for so many reasons. Not only has it been our home for five years, but it sits in a location that provides parking, public transportation access, close to communities in need, and garden space. All of which so perfectly fit our mission, providing access to those who need it. We need the funds to pick up and start fresh in the proper space that this project requires. A kitchen, a dining room, parking, close to communities in need, space to grow food and more. We know that where we are is special, but if we can raise enough funds, then our chances of finding the right space can go from impossible to absolutely doable!
When funded, we will use the money as capital for a business loan to find or build the right space for One Grub Community Diner and Planty for the People. We will continue our mission of providing the best plant-based food to our community, along with our vision of bridging the gaps of food insecurity with access to healthy meals and groceries, gardens, education, and community-driven initiatives to help each other thrive healthfully.
The funds will not only be used to help with the loan and space, but also to keep our staff secure, and to cover the number of other expenses that are sure to come during this transition. *The funds will be allocated to One Grub Community Diner, directly.
Please help us to keep this mission going.
Sending you wishes of peace, love & community grub,
(We were recently interviewed about our building situation )
(This is our fundraising video when we introduced our nonprofit Planty for the People)
(A friend and former student of mine made this great short documentary for his college project)
(local news coverage of our efforts)
(Studio 9 segment on OGC)
(Studio 9 segment on PFTP)
(local coverage on my "Big Brunch" opportunity)
(trailer for Max's The Big Brunch, where I got to share our story and compete for 300k. I was a semifinalist, so close!)
Fundraising team (26)
Raised $9,792 from 138 donations
El Paso, TX
Raised $1,270 from 10 donations
Raised $1,140 from 20 donations
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Raised $710 from 5 donations