While the eats will be delicious, that’s not really what it’s all about for emerging social enterprise Fonte Cucina.
“It’s about fighting food insecurity,” says Founder Anthony Granitsas.
Granitsas will launch Fonte Cucina as a Roman street cuisine pop-up with a buy one, give one (well, four) model.
Fonte Cucina is developing a partnership with Neighborhood Services, Inc. to support its food pantry and programs.
“For every meal that I sell, we incorporate a certain amount of money that will go straight to NSI and they can turn that into a certain amount of meals,” Granitsas says.
As for the eats, Fonte Cucina’s signature entree will be the Fobaccia – a bread bowl filled with meat, sauce, cheese and toppings. Earning the name from its bread base, focaccia, and the Italian word for bowl, boccia, diners can nosh on a lineup of suggested combinations, like Marsala Nuovo with lamb, marsala sauce and sauteed mushroom, or the Pomodoro Polpetta with meatballs, pomodoro sauce, mushrooms and fresh parmesan, or opt to build their own.
Appetizers like Italian classic Bruschetta, and unique antipasti dishes like Capponata, cannellini hummus with roasted peppers, eggplant, golden raisins and pine nuts, or Agnello, braised lamb with roasted peppers and onions, beef glaze and goat cheese, round things out.
Initially, Fonte Cucina will feed its guests via pop-up, the first of which is scheduled for Saturday, May 22 from 4 – 8 p.m. at Freedom a la Cart Café + Bakery, 123 E. Spring St. Downtown. The pop-up will take over the space of the fellow social enterprise which recently opened its first cafe, and offer dine-in, take-out and curbside options until eats run out.
Granitsas plans to take measured steps to Fonte Cucina’s growth as to not get in over their heads in a notoriously difficult industry.
The social enterprise is currently raising funds through Indiegogo to support additional pop-ups, which they hope to take to various restaurant kitchens across the city. As the pop-ups see success, Fonte Cucina will graduate to a food truck, before setting their sights on a brick-and-mortar restaurant, hopefully some time in 2022.
Wherever it may be, Granitsas wants Fonte Cucina to be an example of making a difference through business and giving back to the community.
Granitsas studied business administration and was introduced to social enterprise through his time spent working at the Roosevelt Coffeehouse.
“My experience in the restaurant industry kind of showed me that there’s a lot more room to be making a difference and really reinvesting into the community,” Granitsas says. “If you kind of focus more on equity and community than you do profit, I think that there’s room to really leave an impact.”
He took the concept through social enterprise accelerator SEA Change, which helped him build the business model and develop financial projections for Fonte Cucina. But more than plans on paper, it built his network and introduced Granitsas to connections and organizations that would become critical to the business, like Neighborhood Services, Inc.
“SEA Change was such a pivotal point in my professional career,” he says.
Granitsas knows he’s launching a food-based business at a time when the industry has greatly struggled due to COVID, but he also sees it as an opportunity to make some bold changes in the restaurant world.
“We really want to re-lead the industry and set an example for what the restaurant industry could look like post-COVID, moving forward with this new focus on equity and giving back and reinvesting in the community, rather than just making profit,” he says.
For more information, visit fontecucina.com.
All photos provided by Fonte Cucina