Q+A with Maggie Kane of A Place at the Table

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Maggie Kane at a Place at the Table | Photo by Maggie Kane

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Meet Maggie Kane, the founder and executive director of A Place at the Table — Raleigh’s only pay-what-you-can cafe — located at 300 W. Hargett St. (in the Warehouse Distrit). She loves peanut butter, is obsessed with tattoos, and has a twin sister.

A Place at the Table is partially reopening for inside dining today (~20-30 people). The restaurant also recently added waffles to its menu. In honor of this exciting news, we’re asking Maggie 13 questions. Read on to find out who inspires her and which movers + shakers she’s watching.

If you’re originally from Raleigh, why have you stayed here? If you’re not, what brought you here?

I am one of those who are from and have stayed in Raleigh. (But don’t get me confused for the national tennis player all star Maggie Kane. I wish I had her skills.) I was lucky to go to NC State and graduate with a degree in International Studies — thinking I was going to move abroad. Right before graduation, I got involved in a local nonprofit + knew I needed to stay.

What was the motivation behind creating A Place at the Table?

You can watch the full story here, but I love Raleigh and I love people. Back in 2014, I saw Raleigh as such an awesome place to live full of amazing people, but also super divided. People with money were going one way + people without money were going another. I wanted to create a place downtown where all folks could come together, feel welcome, and feel a part of a community.

What local dish do you crave + rave about?

Everything from Chef Andrew at A Place at the Table. But if it is a Monday and Table is closed, I’d say Gonza’s nachos. ProTip: substitute cilantro lime rice for the chips — thanks Emily for this life changing tip.

What do you hope Raleigh is like in 10 years? 20 years?

That we are the most inclusive city to live in, all folks have opportunities to thrive, and everyone’s voice is heard.

What’s your favorite book?

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

Who is your biggest influence?

The families and folks that come through A Place at the Table for a pay-what-you-can meal. I feel fortunate so many of them allow me to be a part of their lives and know their hopes, dreams + struggles. They are the real superheroes.

What is your favorite part about working at APATT?

Drinking coffee and eating some of the best food in town. I feel I have the best job around because I get to meet all of you, share coffee + waffles with you daily, and be a small part of your lives.

Tell us about an obstacle you’ve had in life and how you overcame it.

Does opening A Place at the Table plus surviving a global pandemic count? This was a baby thought in 2014 and 4 years later — the doors are open! Now in 2021, after life took a bit of a curveball, here we are standing strong. We would not be here today without so many of you and all you did to get this special community spot open.

Name 3-5 other local movers + shakers you’re watching.

We are pretty lucky in this city to have so many rock stars. But a few to start: Lori Jones, Founder of Blackology Coffee, Brit Guerin, Founder of Current Wellness, Johnny Hackett, CEO of Black Dollar & Black Friday Market, Danny Rosin, connector of all the people & Founder of Band Together, Reggie Winston, CEO of Bar Ber Shop, Terrance Ruth, Mayoral candidate and Table board member, and Emily Grey at Flourish Market.

Describe your perfect day in Raleigh in the length of a Tweet (240 characters).

A day full of food + all my humans. Burn Boot Camp leg day, waffles at Table, hiking at Umstead, wine outside at Vita Vite, popping to Flourish Market for a gift or two, brussel sprouts at Wye Hill + tacos at Centro.

Fill in the blank: The coolest person I’ve met in Raleigh is ___________.

The entire team at A Place at the Table, staff and volunteers, are the coolest around. I feel so fortunate they let me be a part of the team daily.

Describe Raleigh’s personality in three words.

Bustling, passionate, optimistic

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs curious about starting their own business?

Don’t do it alone. Find others to join your team. You are not supposed to do it all or be good at it all. Find the people that have the expertise that you don’t have and ask for help — plus, it is more fun together.

Nominate someone.

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