Monday, July 15, 2013

First Taste: Cause it's Tasty!

We recently checked out Cause, the hip "Philanthropub" that is taking 9th Street NW by storm. We left in love with both the food and the mission.
Cause is the brainchild of founders Nick Vilelle (of small-town Missouri fame like myself) and Raj Ratwani.  The concept is simple but powerful.  Cause is run like any other restaurant, except all of the profits are directed to one of three charities.  Every patron chooses which of the charities they would like the profits from their meal to support.  Vilelle and Ratwani first began talking about the philanthropub concept while graduate students in psychology at George Mason.  Their jobs took them apart for awhile, with Vilelle doing non-profit work in Africa for several years, but the two kept generating ideas and refining the concept from long distance.  Vilelle recently returned to the States, and by virtue of their ingenuity (and killer carpentry skills - much of the interior was designed and put together with Vilelle and Ratwani's own hands) Cause officially launched about seven months ago.
I will spare all of the details, but rest assured that Cause's concept is a real, workable business model that just might be scaled across the entire U.S., and it has attracted the attention of philanthropies like Newman's Own (which has generated $370 million for charities since Paul Newman seeded it with just $20,000).  Customers can leave satisfied that ALL of the profits make it to charity, and no exorbitant salaries are paid (Vilelle and Ratwani don't even take salaries - this is a true labor of love!).
Perhaps equally important, however, is that Cause has really good food.  People should go there not to just feel good, but because the food and drink kick ass, and the atmosphere is funky and chill.  
We had the pleasure of sampling a variety of unique treats, including a LamBacon burger (ground lamb with bacon on the inside); 
the Quentil burger (a vegetarian delight combining Quinoa and lentils); a vibrant, colorful radish salad straight out of a local urban garden; and hand-cut fries sprinkled with Cause's signature "cheddar dust," which is not to be missed.  

We also had craft cocktails - all named in honor of great humanitarians like Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi - that could have come from any of the best bars in D.C.  
Favorites included "The Truth," a rye/apple cider/riesling/grenadine concoction and a crisp, refreshing peach sangria.  
On my next visit I plan on trying the aptly named "Heart of Darkness," made of thinly sliced beef heart, bone marrow mayo, caramelized onions, horseradish and arugula; the Shroom and Oat Burger; and the African Chicken Groundnut Stew.  I hope to see you there, just 'cause!
Cause-The Philanthroub on Urbanspoon


Claire G. said...

Their food looks SO GOOD!!

capitalcooking said...

It is and I love the concept!