Arlington Cafe Lets Customers Set the Price

How much would you pay for organic, local food? At one restaurant in downtown Arlington, it's all up to you.

On a recent day, Potager Cafe's ever-changing menu featured crab chowder, quiche with sun dried tomatoes and goat cheese and more -- all fresh and all made from scratch with ingredients from local farms.

The dishes have "no hormones, no pesticides -- kind of the way that Mother Nature intended it to grow," chef Nick Amoriello said.

But the real twist comes when it's time to pay. Customers can pay whatever they want, something that throws off first-time patrons.

"The first reaction is one of, I guess you could say, disbelief, just because it's an out-of-the-norm concept," Amoriello said.

Customers said they are often unsure of what to do on their first visit.

"At first I was dumbfounded," Beverly Salvant said. "'How much would I pay for this someplace else?' That's the first thing that went through my mind."

She asked a woman sitting next to her, who suggested using $10 as a starting point.

Customers Caleb and C.J. Janosz said they usually leave $10 to $12.

The restaurant said it believes most customers leave $8 to $10.

"What we ask is that you review the menu, and we ask that you pretty much take as much food as you're going to eat," Armoriello said. "If you're still hungry, you can come up two, three times until you're full or until you're comfortable. Then we ask that you pay a respectable price for the amount of food that you eat and the quality of that meal."

Amoriello said he believes most people who visit will be fair.

First-timer Jeremy Normand said the food has to be good to give customers that kind of control.

"You know what? The food delivered," he said. "It was really good. Paying what I want, I'm going to pay a lot, because it was worth it. They delivered."

Potager Cafe
315 S. Mesquite St.
Arlington, Texas 76010

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