• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Spark Community Café close to opening its doors

SPARK COMMUNITY CAFÉ will open its doors in March as long as there are no major setbacks. The pay-it-forward restaurant at the corner of North Main and Green streets had been scheduled to open this month, but construction delays pushed back its opening. (Photo by Bob Vlach)

Local families needing a hand-up will likely begin receiving locally-sourced, nutritious meals at Spark Community Café next month, according to Kyle Fannin, co-executive director of the board overseeing the nonprofit restaurant’s operation.

Construction delays pushed its opening date from the first or second week of February to next month, Fannin said.

“I would say there’s a really good chance that we’ll have a soft opening the first week of March and I think by the middle of March we will be open,” he said.

Fannin said contractors were installing the air exchanger for the commercial kitchen’s exhaust hood and work began on a ventless gas fireplace last week.

Families facing food insecurity will “pay” for meals at Spark Community Café by volunteering at the restaurant, and other people will volunteer and also make donations to support the pay-it-forward restaurant in downtown Versailles.

Versailles Property Group, LLC, owners of the building at the corner of North Main and Green streets, will likely have the space ready so Spark Community Café can begin making final preparations to open a restaurant in March, Fannin said.

“We would have to have some kind of major setback to not be open in March,” he added.

Students from teacher Andy Smith’s community activism class at Woodford County High School will help prepare the staff at Spark Community Café for the challenges of opening a restaurant, according to Fannin, a retired WCHS teacher.

Five of his former students from a past community activism class attended a summit about pay-it-forward nonprofit restaurants, and now serve on the board that made Spark Community Café a reality here. One of the challenges facing Spark Community Café is making sure local families facing food insecurity – defined as a household condition where “consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money or other resources at times during the years” – will patronize the nonprofit restaurant. By encouraging everyone who eats at Spark Community Café to pay with a prepaid card, the restaurant’s backers hope to eliminate any stigma attached to receiving a free meal from someone who “paid it forward.”

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