Everytable is a new food-service concept that just doesn't serve food: it has the greater good in mind.

Each location — there are currently four total, in Baldwin Hills, South L.A. (just north of USC), downtown L.A. and Santa Monica — contains just an open refrigerator case, the kind you might find filled with sandwiches at Trader Joe's or 7-Eleven, and a few tables. At Everytable, the case is filled almost entirely with salads and grain bowls, a couple smaller options aimed at kids such as pizza, some sweets, and drinks both flat and bubbly — but no soda. Health is the order of the day.

But health doesn't come just from the existence of ingredients. There's also the issue of access, which is where Everytable really shines. The business model is this: Each location charges a different price for the same item, according to the demographics of the surrounding neighborhood. For instance, the “Southern BBQ Chicken” costs $6.95 in Santa Monica and downtown, $5.50 in Baldwin Hills and $4.95 in South L.A.

The owners will inevitably get some pushback — after all, some of the most impoverished people in the country live in downtown L.A. — but the company is trying something smart, and about as charitable as we can get within the confines of capitalism.

And how does the food taste? It's pretty good! Given that it's all made at a commissary and trucked every morning to the stores, I didn't have high hopes. But that barbecue chicken bowl was good, if a little unwieldy (it only comes with drumsticks), and the Ensalada Fresca has a surprisingly spicy dressing, something commissary food is usually lacking. That's my favorite item so far — the pickled onions make it, so I'm disappointed the carrots and cucumbers in the Vietnamese-style chicken salad aren't pickled too, as they're supposed to be.

But for less than $8? And to support a great business idea that seems to genuinely be trying to help humanity? It has my wholehearted support.

Multiple locations. everytable.com.

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